Archive for the ‘The Pantry Sheet’ Category

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.

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

Checklist-

  • 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

Nut and Seed Butters

Posted: January 26, 2015 in The Pantry Sheet
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We go through an inordinate amount of nut and seed butters.

A. It’s a great way to get in some awesome protein and nutrients to little bodies

B. It’s the only breakfast my husband ever wants (makes life easy, actually considering he’s the only non-vegan in the house)

C. The boys go to a “nut-free” school and seed butter n jelly sandwiches are like, one of two things my son will eat for lunch… can you tell who he takes after? Aherm

So I’ve experimented with a wide variety of plant butter procurement rituals.

Up until recently, none of these rituals inspired that moment where you say to yourself “Self, this is the right way. This is the easy way. Let’s always do it this way, every single time.” [See- exhibit 1. beats head against wall waiting scraping down sides of food processor while blending quantity of almonds purchased for roughly the equal value of almond butter/ exhibit dos. runs up emergency organic store grocery run bill with $8.00 jar that will possibly be mostly smeared on something inedible by 2 yr old/ exhibit 3 hits sale on non-organic Sunbutter at Target which is sort of okay]

20150126_113404

We’ve kind of been scraping the bottom of a 5 lb tub of Seed Butter that we didn’t mix very well when we bought it. This has been getting us by as we cobble together some plant butter sustenance from paycheck to paycheck recently.

Last paycheck I just said, “You know what, fuh0get it. Let’s just blow a chunk on two 5 lb tubs.” It will last forever. It’s easy to monitor unauthorized toddler butter play and I know the product is organic and tasty. So there you have it. For now, this is easy, it’s the best way, let’s always do this:

I ordered a 5 lb tub of organic Vanilla Almond Butter (their Cinnamon Vanilla is my favorite but it only comes in 8 or 15 oz) and a 5 lb tub of Pepita Sunseed Butter from NaturallyNutty.com 

You’ll see, it is a chunk of change. But trust me, if you go through butters like we do save yourself the un-worth it DIY headache and numerous uneconomical trips to the store.