Archive for February, 2015

If you are feeding a bunch of kids or a bunch of cheez lovers or just you self and you love cheezy vegan goodness (and why wouldn’t you?)- you might have noticed that you can spend a good chunk of change on all the fabulous vegan cheeses out there these days. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fabulous to have all these really tasty store bought options. Just a few short years ago when I first began eating a vegan diet the cheese pickings were a little slim, at least here in the Mid-Atlantic region. But alas, ye olde grocery funds are limited while appetites around here are growing.

One of our household’s favorite cheeses are Daiya cheddar slices. They are super tasty, kind of lemony, creamy and melt beautifully into macaroni, into salsa for queso and on burgers and breakfast sammies.

A great and super inexpensive to make alternative to our Daiya addiction is Miyoko Schinner’s Oat American Cheese. The main ingredient is not even cashews, it’s oats (way cheap). The recipe makes at least twice the amount you would get from a Daiya pack and lasts a week to a week and a half in the fridge. Some fair warning, vegan cheese making has some up front costs but once you purchase some key ingredients you’re all set. The other drawback could be if you do not have a high speed/variable speed blender. It makes the process much, much easier. However, when I first began experimenting with cheeses I did use a regular Oster and sometimes just fudged it a little with few tablespoons of extra water, continually scraping down the sides.

Some ingredients that will keep coming up in vegan cheese making (especially in Miyoko’s recipes):

  • Agar and carageenan (both last a long time, you may need to repurchase once or twice a year)
  • Rejuvelac (very economical to make your own, or you can cheat with some sauerkraut liquid)
  • Refined Coconut Oil
  • Brown Miso
  • Cashews (kind of an ongoing expense, but when bought in pieces, in bulk it is still cheaper than buying a whole bunch of pre-made vegan cheez)
  • Xanthum Gum

If you are used to keeping these ingredients on hand cheese making will be pretty much no big deal and save you a ton of money in the end.

I really recommend checking out Artisan Vegan Cheeses when you can. It’s a small book, not too expensive, but full of very clear, very reliable cheese recipes. I think you’ll love it. Here is a link to the Oat American Cheese Recipe aka the Anti-Daiya…

Almost Instant Oat American Cheese

Another great recipe from Artisan Vegan Cheese shared here on the GoDairyFree website is Sharp Cheddar. It’s pretty easy and doesn’t involve air drying (an art I have yet to totally master, but I’m working on it).

Sharp Vegan Cheddar

If you’ve read any of my Beet Sheet break downs you see that I’m a hug Not-zarella fan for pizza. It’s really just my favorite. It tastes very mozzarella-y and if you bake your pizza just right you’ll even get some of those beautiful browned bubbly things we all like to see on a scrumptious cheesy pizza.

Here’s a web available option from Dear Andrea that’s very close to the Sexy Vegan’s Not-zarella: Vegan Pizza Cheez. If you can, I highly recommend you check out his book. It has a ton of great sauce and seitan recipes as well along with simple user-friendly vegan kitchen tips. But you could just get it for the Not-zarella recipe and it would be worth it.


Anything Goes Paella

Posted: February 21, 2015 in Semi-Whole Food Recipes



  • 1 medium green peppers, seeds removed
  • 1 red sweet pepper, seeds removed
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 medium onions, peeled
  • 1/2 head of garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves


  • 4 T olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 package sliced mushrooms or mushrooms of choice
  • 1 jar or can artichokes, drained
  • 1 bag of frozen tricolor pepper strips
  • white wine (optional)
  • 1 packet Goya Sazon Achiote (without salt)
  • 1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cups cooking liquid (water or broth)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups white rice or white basmati rice
  • 1-2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • Lemon wedges
  • coarsely chopped parsley
  • 1/2 bag or 1.5 cups frozen peas
  • Soy Chorizo (recommended: Field Roast)

1. First, prepare the sofrito by pulsing all sofrito ingredients in a food processor.

2. Add 3 Tbsp- 1/2 cup of the mixture and 4 Tbsp olive oil to a large pot and cook briefly, add diced onions and cook until just translucent.

3. Add mushrooms cook until just becoming brown, add artichokes and frozen pepper strips. Optional- add a splash to 1/2 cup dry white wine at this step.

4. Add 2 cups water or broth (make allowances to this total liquid amount if adding 1/2 cup wine).  Add 1 sazon achiote packet and 1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning. Taste test for salt and pepper.

5. Add 2.5 cups long grain white or white basmati rice and 1-2 Tbsp lemon zest. Bring to a boil, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, slice and sear the soy chorizo in a cast iron pan, move to back of stovetop and keep warm.

7. When the rice has cooked for 30 minutes or is almost done, add frozen peas, cover again and cook 3-6 more minutes. Fluff with a fork, mixing in peas. Top with coarsely chopped parsley, a lemon wedge or two and serve with the seared chorizo.

The Beet Sheet No. 3

Posted: February 21, 2015 in The Beet Sheets

Can’t wait for this week’s sheet! Especially because last week was a blur of take out and smoothies while I was getting over “THE PLAGUE” and didn’t feel like eating. Definitely did not feel like cooking. But… way, way excited to be back.

Download this week’s sheet, shopping list, and pantry checklist here:                                                                 The Beet Sheet No. 3

The Beet Sheet Master No. 3.001The Beet Sheet Master No. 3.002

Or use whatever ideas you want and make up your own sheet and list with this template:                                                 The Beet Sheet Blank Template

On to the breakdown, let’s get to work-


Anything Goes Paella and Soy Chorizo (highly recommend Field Roast, certified stamp of approval from the omni in our house)

Here’s an ambitious Sunday to-do list in order of importance. You get a solid B+ for completing the first three items and will be well on the way for the week. For every extra item you complete… that’s just some extra weeknight time in the bank, my friend.


Beef-less Beef Burgundy Stew with Rosemary Dumplings

Stew Recipe and Isa’s Rosemary Dumpling

Notes: I love green beans but I don’t love them in things so I cut that part. I also didn’t really feel like adding spinach so that’s why those two things are on the recipe but not on my list. For the dumplings you could of course use a biscuit mix. I could not find a vegan one so I used Isa’s Dumpling recipe here.

Shout out the fine people at “Meet the Shannons”. Can I just say, I completely fell in love with this recipe? Pay close attention to the proper Gardein treatment and the charming reverence for the product. The red onion “net” made to protect it from getting soggy and weird in the stew is so fantastic.


Tempeh Hoagies and Corn Chowder

I must be halfway pining for summertime. The first time I made these hoagies it was July and sweltering here in DC. I made plate of them as a recipe test for The Lusty Vegan and my omni cohabitor inhaled them. Ah, the smell of sweet victory and full bellies all around.

The Corn Chowder recipe is fantastic, warming and super economical. I love that all the flavor comes from the veggies with nary a stock or bouillon in sight.

If you don’t have The Lusty Vegan… yet, here are some good interweb alternatives for you to check out.  Just cook up some Garlicky Tempeh, sear some red onions, whip up lemony vegan aioli and top your hoagie bun with lettuce and tomato. For the chowder, try this Minimalist Baker recipe for Summer Corn Chowder


Broccoli-Lentil Hash with Hashbrowns and Vegan Hollandaze Sauce

The Beet Sheet’s Buffalo, NY inspired Broccoli-Lentil Hash with a side of store bought hash browns (you can make your own, of course). While you’re hashing it up* whip up some Keepin It KInd’s Soy Free Hollandaze. Not because soy is bad. It’s not bad unless you’re allergic. I just have never been a huge fan of the silken tofu based hollandaises (hollandaise-ae?)

*avoids using most obvious pun, receives gold star

Broccoli-Lentil Hash:

Wash and drain 1 cup brown lentils. Cover with water and cook with 1/8-1/4 tsp salt until tender. Sweat 1/2 cup diced onions in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Mix in 1 Tbsp tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds- 1 minute (careful note to burn). Add 2 cups of defrosted broccoli florets. Add drained lentils along with 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Add a few Tbsp- 1/4 cup of water, just enough to keep the mixture slightly moist. You should be able to form a kind of large free form pancake allow edges to crisp and brown slightly and flip as needed. Meanwhile brown the store bought hash browns in the oven on the stove top. Prepare the Hollandaze and serve. Some orange slices or tomatoes would be great additions to the plate.


Build Your Own Bowl Night

Reheat or just bring to room temp your roasted beets and black beans. Cook up some quinoa and Domesticate Me’s lemony tahini dressing. Add spice to the dressing if you like it hot or just stick a bottle of hot sauce on the table with the rest of the fixings.

Set out an assembly line with all your bowl ingredients including quinoa, beans, roasted beets, thinly sliced red onions, veggies (such as shredded carrots, cabbage or sprouts) and salad greens. Serve with whole wheat rolls if you have opted to make the double batch.


Pizza Night

Roll out the pre-made Pizza Dough, hopefully you had a chance to make it and store in on Sunday. Spread with pasta sauce and choice of toppings including Sexy Vegan “Not-zarella” or Vegan Pizza Cashew Cheese Sauce- Dear Andrea. I had some vegan pepperoni from the week before which I stuck in the freezer. In my experience the pepperoni can get moldy quickly so I don’t take any chances. Serve with a nice green salad and your favorite vegan dressing or just a drizzle of your favorite vinegar.


Burger Night

Gardein or any favorite right price veggie burgers, lots of yummy fresh toppings, steamed fresh carrots or choice of frozen veggie, roasted sweet or russet potato oven fries.

Oven fries: Cut 1 to 1.5 potatoes per person into wedges. Soak wedges for 30 min- 1 hr in cold filtered water seasoned with sea or kosher salt and garlic powder. Drain, toss with a spritz of oil, more garlic powder. Sprinkle smoked paprika. Spread sparsely on 1-2 cookie sheets and bake at 425º F until brown and slightly puffy.

Soup and Sandwich, Hashbrowns, Hollandaze and Juicy Veggie Burgers? You know I’m dreaming of the Perfect Vegan Diner… it’s somewhere out there, I’m sure! And you know Tom Waits is sitting there warming the last pleather stool on the right and sipping a cup of steamy joe. Ahhh.

Want to make your own Beet Sheet?

Print, plan, scribble, scrawl, shop, create! The Beet Sheet Blank Template

Okay, technically this is just a dinner plan. I don’t do a full breakfast and lunch plan. We’re way into smoothies, toast and left overs at our house! Hopefully this will be a start for you if you’re wanting to plan a totally vegan menu and are on a budget like me. I’ve heard friends and family say “I would eat [healthier, vegan, vegetarian, home cooked food] but I literally need someone to walk down the grocery aisles with me,”. I totally get it and budgets are tough. So maybe we can scour the aisles together? Let me say this, in my experience there is no one stop shopping (at least in my area). You’ll do the best with your budget if you plan to hit a really reasonably priced store like Trader Joes and then a store that has an excellent bulk or organic bulk section. For me that’s my local coop, for you it might be Whole Foods. So what’s on the current Beet Sheet…

I was really excited about this week when I realized I hadn’t made Trisha Yearwood’s lasagna in forever. The first time I saw her make it on her show I thought “Black beans? On lasagna?” Now that’s almost the only way I want to make lasagna. Almost… so here is the downloadable printable plan, shopping list and pantry check list:

Beet Sheet no. 2

The Beet Sheet no. 2.001The Beet Sheet no. 2.002

You can also make your own Beet Sheet. Here’s the template to print and write on.


So, did you know that Garth Brooks is or was at one point eating a vegan diet? I really don’t know much more about it other than that. His wife, Trisha Yearwood had an episode of her show devoted to cooking “Garth foods”. I guess I’m just kind of fascinated imagining what the dynamic might be like in the Garth Brooks/Trisha Yearwood vegan-omni home. I have some changes to her recipe: 1. I tend to wing it a little when making cashew-tofu ricotta 2. I use jarred tomato sauce (try to buy cheapest that’s still organic) 3. I add a layer of thawed and drained frozen spinach for some extra greens and some nutritional yeast on the top along with the black beans.

Black Bean Lasagna with Spinach Trisha Yearwood’s Recipe

To make on Sunday:

  • First, get started on your dry black beans as they will need to simmer for up to a few hours, continually adding water. Make enough to sprinkle to taste on top of your lasagna and reserve enough for a side on Taco Night. When cooked add your desired black bean spices to the batch you will reserve and cook a bit more (I like to add some garlic powder or Goya Adobo Seasoning and some pre-made sofrito you can use a little frozen pepper strips and skip tomatoes if you don’t have them).
  • Assemble Lasagna and bake.
  • Make Post Punk Kitchen’s Glam Chowder, cooking until potatoes are only slightly done. You can continue cooking it on the night it is served. To store freeze or store at the back of a cold fridge in a tightly sealed container.
  • Make a batch or double batch of Holy Cow Vegan’s Whole Wheat Buns for serving with soup and for burger night (depending on how many people need to eat).
  • Prepare pizza dough and store, get a head start on the Sexy Vegan Not-zarella or Vegan Pizza Cashew Cheese Sauce- Dear Andrea for the pizza if you are so inspired. You really won’t need to clean out your blender after making to tofu ricotta so bonus!
  • Pop the tofu you will use for Taco Night in the freezer (this will make for a nice chewy texture when you go to make the fish-less bites.
  • Make your pie crust for the Tofu Pie if not using a store bought crust. Store carefully so that it won’t dry out in the fridge.


Glam Chowder with Whole Wheat Buns Post Punk Kitchen’s Glam Chowder and video (it is also in the fantabulous Isa Does It cookbook by Post Punk creator Isa Chandra Moskowitz) Holy Cow Vegan’s Whole Wheat Buns


Tofu Curry Pie Semi-Whole Food Tofu Curry Pie Recipe


Burger Night

Gardein burger patties or your favorite variety, Whole Wheat Buns from above, choice of fresh toppings, your favorite steamed frozen veggie/greens, Oven Fries.

Take your tofu for taco night out of the freezer and make sure it is thawing.


Nemo’s No Fish Tofu Tacos recipe via Family Disney’s website

Take prepared beans out and reheat. Begin white or brown rice (for white rice: 2 cups water, 1 tsp salt, bring to a boil, add 1.5 cups rice, stir, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 25-30 min checking for doneness).

Beet Sheet recipe add in:

  • I wasn’t convinced that the breading would stick really well so I added a quick coat/dredge of vegan mayo (I used Wildwood Vegan Garlic Aioli, yum!). Just Mayo or Veganaise would be fantastic as well.
  • I added about 1/2 tsp of Old Bay to the panko. This is because I live in the Mid-Atlantic.

I didn’t cut all the tofu into shapes. It was taking a while and I wanted to speed up the whole taco process. I used all the tofu, including the little left over pieces trying to keep all the shapes roughly the same size.

While tofu bakes prepare your toppings. I happened to have some left over Cashew Sour Cream from the week before. If you picked up some plain coconut yogurt for this recipe that would also be delicious. For some freshness make a spread of thinly sliced radishes, cut up a big Florida avocado, shredded romaine and watercress (or whatever toppings you chose on your shopping trip!) Set out some taco sauce or hot sauce for some extra flavor and warmed the tortillas. The back of my stovetop gets pretty hot when the oven’s on so I just set a plate of them back there while everything else is going on.


Pizza Night

Roll out prepared pizza dough like this one from Minimalist Baker or store bought dough. Spread with pasta sauce and choice of toppings including Sexy Vegan “Not-zarella” or Vegan Pizza Cashew Cheese Sauce- Dear Andrea. I had some vegan pepperoni from the week before which I stuck in the freezer. In my experience the pepperoni can get moldy quickly so I don’t take any chances. Serve with a nice green salad and your favorite vegan dressing or just a drizzle of your favorite vinegar.


Glam Chowder Night II

Tofu Curry Pie

Inspired by a craving… I love the tofu curry pie from Dangerously Delicious Pies (D.C./ Baltimore based company). It’s amazing and worth the price tag. Still, I don’t usually have $30 bucks to throw at one meal so here is my best effort to create a more economical but equally tasty option. I originally thought this was a simple thai style curry in a crust. Not so! It definitely has a seriously groovy element to it with the smoked paprika and nooch (nutritional yeast). In fact, if you feel like up-ing the nooch go nuts.


1 prepared vegan pie crust (top and bottom)*

2 T coconut oil or vegetable oil

1 12 oz. pkg extra firm tofu, drained  and roughly broken into pieces

1-2 t salt or to taste

1/2 t pepper or to taste

1 small onion, chopped

scant cup frozen pepper strips

2 cups fresh green such as spinach, bok choy or small cuts of kale (optional)

4 cloves garlic, finely grated

1 (10 oz.) BPA free can light or full fat coconut milk

2 t curry powder

1/2 t smoked paprika

3 T nutritional yeast

1/2 cup cooked white or brown rice**

* I tried this with a whole wheat crust this time but definitely prefer it with a white flour crust. I think it’s really worth it to buy a premade vegan crust but if you make your own I’d strongly recommend making it well ahead, not the same night as the curry.

** make ahead on Sunday or purchase premade packet.


  1. Heat 1 T of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu cubes, season with salt and fry until golden on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Remove to paper towels, and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet over medium heat add the other T of oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add grated ginger, garlic careful not to burn. Add coconut milk, curry and reduce heat. Add smoked paprika and nutritional yeast. Add salt and pepper as needed. Return the tofu to the skillet. Add all veggies and rice. Slightly wilt greens and taste test again for salt and pepper.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F
  4. Grease a 9 inch pie pan and assemble the tofu pie (bottom layer, tofu curry filling and top layer)
  5. Crimp pie edges with a fork and poke your choice of design in the top of the crust. I can’t seem to do anything but an “S” for my Mom’s maiden name. Lucky for her it happens to be the perfect pie crust letter!
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes. Time can vary greatly depending on your oven, location, day of the week, etc. Just keep an eye out. I would start checking in the window at about 40 minutes.
  7.  Allow pie to rest for 10 minutes before cutting and serving.

Why is called cobbler, have you every wondered? After “adapting” this Native Foods recipe I started to feel like it must be related to the cobbling together of ingredients to make a delicious, warm dessert. I love when simple things seem decadent.

This is Native Food’s award winning Blueberry/Cranberry Pie recipe.

I went to make this pie one lazy snowy afternoon and found that the leftover pie crust I planned on using needed to be tossed. I didn’t have cranberries either so I figured… heck, cobbler! The basic ingredients, binders and the oat-pecan crumble topping is so fantastic. I don’t know if I will ever make the whole pie. Another bonus is that you can easily prepare this ahead on the weekend, stick it in the fridge without baking and pop it in the oven for a mid-week pick me up.

I Like Rice Now. Rice is fun.

Posted: February 2, 2015 in Picky Eaters

My little “super taster” (Super T) is making great strides lately. Anyone else who has an extremely picky eater knows what I’m talking about. You feel like you’ve won the lottery when your child finally, finally tries a new food item; and when they declare that they like it?

I’m not saying there was dancing. I’m pretty strict about not reacting at all to what Super T does at the table because it sets up a power play that guess who will not be winning. Ahem, (👉this lady👈).

So what was different this time vs. the other hundred times we had rice for dinner and he refused? I served it plain and with basically no other anxiety creating items around. Have I really never served him plain rice before. I’m sure I have but it’s certainly been a while. I am also realizing that what I think looks simple on the plate still might be overwhelming to him if it’s seen as unfamiliar.

Another big surprise on Magic Rice Night (which I might just mark on my calendar and celebrate next year) was a double win from Trader Joes:

Hands down fave vegan "Arroz Con Pollo" protein

Hands down fave vegan “Arroz Con Pollo” protein

Not only were these strips everything I’ve been looking for in a veggie protein to put in Arroz con Pollo, I showed the box and the strips to little Super T while I was cooking and he grabs one out of my hand and eats it cold. What? I mean who is this kid? I’ll take it, though.

It seems to be a key time for me to get in there and get the little guy into some new foods. I’ll tell you about veggie lasagna shock and awe that went down last night in another post. Until then, do you have a picky eater at your house? Or just someone suspicious of plant foods? Any recent wins? I’d love to hear.

Happy trails, happy cooking and eat those beets!

If you like the idea of a Beet Sheet but want to make your own, here’s a blank template. Have fun!

The Beet Sheet Blank Template

The Beet Sheet Blank.001 The Beet Sheet Templates

Stock the Pantry

Posted: February 1, 2015 in The Pantry Sheet

Gradually building to a well stocked pantry means you can essentially eat for free some weeks- just for fun or when you really have to. Here’s my take on a well stocked vegan pantry. What are your pantry must have’s that aren’t on the list?

Well Stocked Pantry:

To organic or not to organic? For most bulk things it can be fairly easy to find a good deal on the organic variety. If canned, try not to compromise on BPA free. Most Trader Joe’s cans now have BPA free lining and those products are pretty affordable. For some specialty items like pitted dates, non-organic can really bring down the price point so I often compromise if I see a specialty item steal.

$1.49 ea at Giant today! Stocking up with my favorite easy beefless stew ingredient

$1.49 ea at Giant today! Stocking up with my favorite easy beefless stew ingredient


  • White Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Wheat Bulgur
  • Quinoa (Quinoa can also sub for Bulgur)
  • White Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Rolled and/or Quick Cooking Oats (I don’t get hung up on which kind for recipes, doesn’t make a huge difference IMO)
  • Vital Wheat Gluten
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vegan Cane Sugar
  • Buckwheat Pancake Mix
  • Chick Pea Flour and/or Gluten Free Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder (try to get aluminum free)
  • Vanilla Extract (look for sales, stock up when you can!)
  • Black Beans (pref. dried, buy in bulk)
  • Lentils (pref. dried, buy in bulk)
  • Chick Peas (dried, bulk)
  • Cashews (buy in bulk)
  • Nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • Canned/Frozen Pumpkin
  • Canned BPA free Coconut Milk
  • Silken Tofu
  • Active Yeast
  • Nutritional Yeast (another bulk item)
  • Nori Sheets
  • Refined Coconut Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Medium and/or White Miso Paste
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Pasta
  • Jarred Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste (at least one jar or BPA free can on standby)
  • Ketchup
  • Maple Syrup and/or Agave Nectar
  • Pitted Dates (sometimes the non-organic ones go on sale at the regular grocery, check it out)
  • Soy Sauce and/or Liquid Aminos
  • Mushroom/Vegan Gravy prepared or packet (stock up when it’s on sale, great “Bee” Stew Base)
  • Better than Bouillon/Veggie Broth Base or Mushroom Broth
  • Vegan Worcestershire
  • A-1 and/or fave BBQ Sauce
  • Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
  • Liquid Smoke

Extra Credit:

  • Vegan Panko Breading or Regular Breadcrumbs (check the label, some have milk!)
  • Coconut Palm Sugar
  • Gochujang Sauce (for bibimbap and soup)
  • Just Mayo, Veganaise, Wildwood Aioli
  • Sriracha
  • Hearts of Palm
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Pitted Green Olives (with pimento or without)
  • Decent White Wine (for cooking, sipping)

Spice Stock:

  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Mustard Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Curry Powdeer
  • Hungarian Paprika
  • Rubbed Sage
  • Ground and/or dried Thyme
  • Dried Basil
  • Dried Thyme
  • Dried Oregano
  • Allspice
  • Ground Cloves

Extra Credit:

  • Herbs de Provence or other favorite dried herb
  • Rosemary Plant
  • Saffron Threads
  • Goya Adobo (without salt, sin sal)
  • Goya Sazon con achiote
  • Whole Cloves
  • Garam Masala