Day 7 – True Vegan

Today’s vegan MoFo theme is “original vegan”, meaning a vegan meal that isn’t trying to be something else (like fake cheese or fake meats). The easiest, most satisfying and cheap vegan meals for me have always been stir frys or slow cooked curries. In fact, for just about the last three weekends in a row I’ve been extremely crock-pot inspired and made a different curry each time. 

Yesterday morning I swung by the Pearl City farmer’s market at Pearl Ridge mall. Pearl City is a on O’ahu, right on the northern tip of Pearl Harbor (hence the name) and about ten minutes northwest of Honolulu. Because we live in a tropical location, the fruit and vegetable selection is always unique. I picked up this crazy batch of jungle veggies, swung by the store for some pre-fried tofu from Aloha Tofu, and then returned home. 

Okra, green beans, kabocha, grape tomatoes!

Making a curry is so freaking easy, I swear. When I came home I popped these chopped veggies into the crock pot—make sure to put the thickest on the bottom, in this case the kabocha. And layered chunks of Japanese curry blocks throughout. If you don’t have pre-made curry blocks or sauce, you can put in whatever spices float your boat! Last, I chopped the fried tofu and laid it gently on top. Add 2-3 cups of water too, to make it saucy! After turning the knob to a slow cook, I let that sucka soak for five hours. You can cook it on high setting much faster too, but I had the time to spare until dinner. 

When you’re ready to eat, choose a base (rice, noodles, quinoa, etc) and spoon your curry out of the crock pot and into your bowl. We used quinoa because I like that extra protein for developing baby. Talk about a savory and healthy original vegan meal! I love our $10 crock pot. Hope you guys liked this easy idea. If you aren’t a chef at all, I promise you can do this recipe. It’s hard to mess up, good luck!

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Vegan Cheese — Puss Free!

Aloha!

I’m a day late, but I have the perfect example(s) of amazing vegan cheeses and all the options you can make/buy. I’ll start with some interesting facts about cow/goat/animal cheeses first, though. I was vegetarian for about 11 years before going vegan, and the hardest transition for me was cutting out cheese. Sure, you may think it’s because of the taste cheese adds to many dishes, but actually it was because I had withdrawal-like symptoms from cutting out dairy. I can’t say I have any experience with illicit drugs, and certainly don’t understand how that type of withdrawal feels. But I had never before experienced these strange withdrawal-like symptoms in my life and after researching more was able to attribute it to my dairy “detox”. I learned that the protein in dairy (known as casein) contains opiates, and that when our bodies consume dairy, our brain releases dopamine.

‘These opiates attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and morphine attach to. They are not strong enough to get you arrested, but they are just strong enough to keep you coming back for more, even while your thighs are expanding before your very eyes.’ – Dr. Neal Barnard, author of The Cheese Trap

Casein (the milk protein) is also an ingredient in many snacks, chips, and “non-dairy” substitutes. Hint, if it’s labeled “non-dairy” but not “dairy free” or “vegan”… it’s probably made from some chemicalized verison of cow’s milk. I was waking up in the middle of the night, shaking and sweating, craving bags of cheetos, for days. I thought I was getting the flu, but then I was so angry when I realized that a food (advertised to be “healthy” for me) caused such ridiculous withdrawals. Nothing with results like that is healthy for you, and I felt like I had been tricked into consumption by the addictive properties. And don’t even get me started on the horrors of the dairy industry! I’ll save that for another time.

Back to vegan cheese; last night mi esposo and I went to our favorite local pizza place, What It Dough! You can check them out on Instagram @what_it_dough. The hand-craft all of their signature “cheeses” using ingredients like cashews, almonds, and white beans. Their creative cheeses and amazing dough recipe make these pizzas amazing. When I’m trying to introduce non-vegans to delicious vegan options, I count on places like this to kick ass… and show everyone how easy it is to make the switch…!!!

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Day 2: Vegan Junk Food!

One major difference from two years ago (for me at least) is my huge growing belly! It’s cute, feminine, and I love my new curves because they announce to the world that we are expecting a baby this year! I am in my third trimester as we speak. I eat all day, every day and have been able to maintain a healthy and safe pregnancy weight this entire time. In addition, my belly doesn’t have any stretch marks or even the dark brown line (yet) which I attribute to my plant based diet #yassss

Pregnant or not, I definitely love me some vegan junk food, which is today’s prompt for #VeganMoFo. I am a big sucker for vegan marshmallows, namely Dandies and anything by Sweet & SaraBREAK: If you didn’t hear, Sweet & Sara is going out of business! Major bad news, we will miss them so much and in a panic I ordered 8 of their s’mores immediately. RIP.

gelatin

If you’re wondering why I am naming specific vegan-brand marshmallows, it’s because regular marshmallows ARE NOT VEGAN. One of the main ingredients is gelatin (AKA boiled animal bones and skin). It horrifies me to think that my first ten years of being meat-free, I did not know about gelatin and was cheerfully eating gelatin-containing products (srsly… it’s in a lot of stuff). Once I found out, I was disgusted. Sorry not sorry to any vegans/vegetarians who did not know already. You can’t find vegan marshmallows at any old grocery store, but you’ll be glad you went the extra mile to avoid this nasty ingredient.

One side effect of pregnancy has been my constant worry about vitamin and mineral intake. I have made a significant conscious effort to increase my all around wellness and nutrition because, well, it’s not all about me anymore now is it? And while fruits and vegetables remain a staple in my diet, I also added things like cereals, more protein-rich foods like seitan and vegan Ripple brand milk (ummm 8 g Protein, 32mg DHA omega-3 and 45% DV of Calcium!!!!).

In week 28 of pregnancy they gave me the horrible glucose test, which checks for gestational diabetes. Once everything came back okay, I told myself “dammit, I deserve something tasty for this!” and whipped up the easiest dessert I’ve ever made; rice krispies treats! The instructions were on the back of a bag of Dandies marshmallows, and it literally takes 3-5 minutes — voila!

  • 1 10oz bag of Dandies Marshmallows
  • 5 cups Crisp Rice Cereal
  • 2 Tbsp. Vegan Margarine (we use Earth Balance)
  • 2 Tbsp. Coconut Oil

The off-brand crispy rice cereal I happened to buy also has 50% DV of Iron per serving! That’s a big win for baby and mama. I love how these came out, and have even made two batches in two weeks so we can devour them.

ricekrispies

Vegan MoFo ’17! 1: Reinventing the Veggie Option

Aloha and happy October!mofopeasclean

I’m Elly and together with my best bud Erin we bring you #WhiteChicksWithSpanishLastNames … It’s a mouthful, I know! We came up with this silly name for a blog two years ago when we attempted our first Vegan Month of Food (Vegan MoFo) and it stuck. Erin and I are both married to dreamy dudes who gave us new and exciting surnames to keep for life. Oh and we both have one cat son each — Weezy is mine, and PeeWee is Erin’s!

Day one of Vegan MoFo we were asked to ‘reinvent a veggie option’. I think the most often seen veggie option at most restaurants, which sometimes isn’t even vegan, is the veggie burger. Boring bun, dry old lettuce, a slice of tomato, and something eerily like a hamburger that you’re sure was cooked on the same grill as chicken, beef, and pork products. I quite dislike most restaurant veggie burgers!

I know Erin can make a mean beet burger from scratch (I’ve tried it!) but my expertise has always been Asian-style cooking. Instead of reinventing the veggie burger, I’d rather upgrade it! Vegan Banh Mi, baby!

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If you’ve never heard of banh mi (shame on you!), it’s the Vietnamese word for ‘bread’, and in the U.S. it’s served on a baguette with fresh vegetables and a sauce. The sandwich featured here was invented by America’s Test Kitchen — did you know they made a completely vegan cookbook? It’s the bomb, check it out.

Anyways, this sandwich is made from a fried tofu, fresh cucumbers, cilantro (a MUST), shredded carrots, and vegan mayo mixed with sriracha! Talk about upstaging that boring veggie burger, this sandwich has that awesome Vietnamese style taste, plus fried tofu — two of my favorite things.

Aloha Hawaii! Vegan Mochi Recipe

I have been drooling over the various mochi here in Honolulu, from the dango (round) shaped mochi to cake-like mochi slices, they really have it all here! Many mochi are made with condensed milk or other dairy but for this recipe I made it completely cruelty free/plant based!

Hold onto your 靴下 (socks)! Since I’ve never made mochi before, I based this recipe off of one from the Vibrant Wellness Journal. Hers has bananas and berries but I flavored mine with cocoa powder and matcha powder. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup Earth Butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs agave 
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup matcha powder
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mochiko flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

To start, I set the oven to 350 degrees F. Then I mixed together the cocoa powder, matcha, oil, almond milk, earth balance, agave, sugar, and vanilla extract. 

In another bowl I combined the rest of the ingredients– mochiko, tapioca starch, baking powder, and salt.  After thoroughly mixing, create a hole in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet mix you created earlier. Mix like crazy… seriously! After washing my hands I used my them to squish everything together and then carefully place the mixture into a pan. I used a 9″ x 13″, but it works better to use a smaller pan so that the mochi comes out thicker. 

Place the pan into the 350 degree oven for 50 minutes. Afterwards, let cool for 15 minutes and cut into squares. 

いただきます〜!

Aloooooha!

Man it’s been a while! Aloha from Hawaii, USA, my new home. That’s right, the white chicks with Spanish last names are now thousands of miles apart… But that doesn’t mean we can’t keep cooking great vegan shit and writing our little hearts out. I miss Erin mucho, but hopefully this blog will help her and I keep tabs on our vegan cooking, something that is important and very dear to us both.

Let’s get started. A very merry belated Christmas! I got a whole lot of fun presents (including a Vitamix, holy hell!) but none so vegan specific as the new Thug Kitchen book, “Party Grub”! In an earlier post I noted that Thug Kitchen was one of my fave cookbooks. Still is. Jumping right into this book, it looks to have everything the last one did and MORE. I particularly like that they teach basic shit like how to make tortillas, roast garlic, pop popcorn, etc… It may sound too easy to be in a book, but it’s stuff you just don’t think about and rush to the store to buy pre-made instead. I really appreciated that portion of the book.

Anyways, enough of that. Tonight we felt lazy and decided to make something that looked like lazy people food: the loaded nachos on page 74, accompanied by the queso-ish dip on page 46. We were wrong about the lazy part. It took a lot of dishes and prep to make that queso dip! But it was so worth it. The butternut squash was an interesting filler to use instead of the old cashew recipe we are used to. Topping that cheezy mess on top of some guacamole, black beans, serrano peppers, cilantro, and cabbage… was absolute heaven. And it reminded me of the time we went to Erin’s house and made Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s version of queso and nachos. Here’s the final pic we snapped. Amen!

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Day 28: Tacos v. Burritos

Vegan Mofo Theme: Tacos VS Burritos. Where do you stand on this important issue?

tacos with colorsUm…TACOS. That was easy. Don’t get me wrong-I love a good burrito bowl, but tacos have always seemed more fun. I think it’s because the ratio of filling to outside is much higher. Ratios in our food are important; I think you can find them in almost every culture (don’t get my husband started on rice to ulam ratio). Plus the build-them-yourself aspect means you can try different combos of fillings in one meal.

So tonight Elly came over and made us homemade corn tortillas! Homemade tortillas are so much better than store-bought if you have the time. Especially for flour tortillas. Corn ones are super simple to make as well if you can find masa. Most bags will have a recipe on the back, but if you’d like the kitchn has a good explanation here.

We cooked up some fillings including this taco “meat” from oh she glows (adding in 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for some spice), some sautéed onions and peppers, guacamole, chopped veggies, and tofu sour “cream” (chipotle and regular versions!). Speaking of ratios, the lentils in our “meat” along with our bell peppers gave us the one-two nutritional punch of iron and vitamin c!

taco t shirt
David even sported his fan shirt for dinner; now that’s a true taco lover!

We hope you voted for tacos today too if you were participating in vegan mofo. If not, we hope you’ll vote for vegan tacos at your dinner table in the future.

Love,

E&E