Friday, April 29, 2011

Fashionable Friday: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen

Check out our sister site, Haughty by Nature, to get the rundown on the Royal Wedding!

But seriously, I was a huge Royal Wedding cynic until I saw the dress. Now I'm sold. Being a princess would be awesome.

Happy Friday everyone!

Fashionable Friday: Bumble & Bumble and Smashbox

Since I feel like I've been working pretty much non-stop recently, I felt the need to splurge on myself. (Actually, I always "feel the need" to splurge on myself, only now I had the means to do it.) In the past, a splurge would have been an Iced Chai latte at Starbucks. Lame. I decided that since I had a "staycation" during Spring Break instead of a lavish trip, I could afford to make it rain up in Sephora.

And make it rain I did. (In $1 bills.) First up, a Bumble and Bumble spray recommended to me by Allison at All About You salon:
Styling Lotion 24.00

And next up, a bronzer to help my still-pasty skin look like it's seen the light of day:

Suntan Matte 28.00
My wallet is a little thinner, but my hair is voluminous, my cheeks glow with a touch of sunshine, and none of these products were tested on animals. Priceless? I think so.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Comfort Food: Mac and "Cheese"

Adapted from this recipe in LHJ

It would be easy enough to make things like mac and cheese with a little soy cheese substitute, but where's the fun in that? Plus, if I don't have the time or money to go to the health food store and spend $5+ on a block of fake cheese, I'm sure you don't either. But you do need to order some nutritional yeast. (If you live in Charlotte, stop by Berrybrook Farm, where they have it for $9 a lb. A gallon-sized Ziploc of the stuff cost me about $6.)

This dish tasted great, (and I would know, since it made enough for me to eat for a week+) and I really didn't even taste the curry. I think it was more for show. Veganizing this changed it from a high-fat, low fiber recipe to a low-fat, high-fiber one. Which would you prefer? (Need I remind you it's almost bathing suit season?)


1 pound whole wheat macaroni or shells
1/2 cup non-dairy, nonhydrogenated margerine, like Earth Balance
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic*, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tsp tumeric
6 tablespoons all-purpose or whole wheat flour
4 cups non-dairy milk (like almond!)
2 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup plain crushed Triscuits
1 bunch asparagus*, trimmed
Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook macaroni in salted water, drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan, melt margerine with the oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until soft, 2 minutes. Stir in curry powder and flour to create a paste. Pour in milk while whisking and bring to a simmer, stirring.
3. Remove saucepan from the heat. Add 2 cups nutritional yeast; stir until blended. Add the cooked macaroni and salt. Transfer mixture to a 4-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with 1/4 cup breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. Arrange the asparagus over macaroni. Sprinkle asparagus with the remaining Triscuits and nutritional yeast and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden.

Organic veggies from Backyard Produce.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Comfort Food: Vegan "Meatloaf"

One of the reasons I started this blog was to see if I could "veganize" the comfort foods I grew up eating. My G-mama was from Ellaville, Georgia (never heard of it? Biiig surprise) and one of the best cooks ever. She always had a freshly-brewed pitcher of sweet tea and a hot batch of biscuits waiting for us whenever we came to visit, and everything that came out of her kitchen was mouthwateringly delicious.

My family loves good ol' meatloaf and mashed potatoes (or, in the picture below, macaroni and cheese). Though I feel too much like a Northern California hippie calling this "veggie loaf", that's what it is. However, it looks just like the meatloaf my G-mama and mama used to make, minus all the ground up dead animal, saturated fat, and cholesterol. I adapted this from a vegetarian "meatball" recipe in Ladies Home Journal, but changed a few things around. The original called for bread crumbs, but store-bought bread crumb contain high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil, which I refuse to eat. Ew. So I subbed some crushed up Triscuits and things came out beautifully. This recipe made a lot, but I didn't even mind eating this for a week straight. It was that good.

What are some of your family's favorite recipes?

Once again...it tastes better than this photograph would lead you to believe
Ingredients
1 cup crushed Triscuits (I put them in a Ziploc bag and hammered them with a metal ladle. Cathartic.)
1 cup nutritional yeast (you haven't bought any yet? What are you waiting for? Order it at Vitacost.com!)
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp oregano
2 tsp dried basil
3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 large onion*, chopped
1 large eggplant, unpeeled and diced into 1/4 inch pieces
2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 cups finely chopped walnuts
3 garlic cloves*, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions 
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. In a bowl, combine Triscuits, nutritional yeast, parsley, oregano, and basil. Set aside.
3. Heat 3 tbsp of oil in skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, eggplant, and salt. Stir to coat with oil. Cook until soft, stirring occasionally (8-10 minutes).
4. Remove from heat. Add walnuts, garlic, and tomato paste.
5. Transfer half (only half!) of the mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. (Warning: this puree will not look appetizing. Trust me on this one.)
6. Stir puree back into other half of eggplant mixture, add bread crumb mixture and flour. Stir until thoroughly mixed.
7. Transfer to a greased loaf pan, like this one from Pyrex. Bake 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through.

Also pictured is Curried Mac and Cheese, which will be posted tomorrow!

Organic veggies from Backyard Produce

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gwyneth Paltrow: The Ultimate Preppy Vegan

Where am I and why have I not realized that Gwyneth Paltrow is actually the Queen Bee of Preppy Vegans? After yesterday's post on kale chips, my friend Brooke informed me that Gwyneth had just been on Ellen cooking, the exact same thing. (Ellen actually asked me to do that segment, but I was busy that day.)

After her recent NPR interview, I think we could be friends. I mean, she's just like me, except taller, thinner, blonder, richer, and with an Oscar sitting on her mantelpiece. (Otherwise? Eerily similar.)

She shows just how easy and awesome those kale chips are, as well as cookin' up a fiesty paella that I just may have to try.



It's hard not to feel a bit outdone by Gwyneth in....everything. But I still love her and am interested in trying her cookbook. Sigh.

Has anyone else tried kale chips? What are your thoughts?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kale Chips In, Potato Chips Out

Charlie Sheen's comedy tour, the Duggar family's incessant need to reproduce...maybe some things are as frightening and confusing as bikini season.

From now until Memorial Day, swap out your greasy, fattening, oily (you get the picture) potato chips for light, crunchy, kale chips. It sounds a little out there (Charlie Sheen would approve) but trust me...these barely made it to the photoshoot because I was eating so many. You'll thank me when even the florescent lights of the bathing suit dressing room can't put a damper on your hot bod.


Plus, once you compare the nutritional facts of the two, I bet you'll go with me on this one:

Kale
Source
Potato Chips
Source

Ew. Kale wins. Serve them with some BBQ Tacos or Balsamic "Chicken" Sandwiches and enjoy!

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Slice kale* into bite-sized pieces, removing leaf from stem.
3. Spread kale onto greased cookie sheet.
4. Sprinkle with olive oil.
5. Sprinkle with salt or nutritional yeast (maybe both? Live on the edge!)
6. Cook until edges are brown, 10 to 15 minutes.


*Organic veggies from Backyard Produce.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fashionable Friday: Aldo Accessories

I had some babysitting money burning a hole in my pocket last week, so I headed to the mall to try and find a new purse.
Source
I actually needed (I'm using the term loosely here) a new purse, since currently I only own a huge yellow tote bag and a tiny (I mean t-i-n-y) clutch for going out. I needed something in between. While waiting for my friend Shannon to arrive, I stumbled into our new Aldo Accessories store. Imagine the regular Aldo, take away the shoes, add in a trillion billion cute purses and earrings, and you have Aldo Accessories. I was in heaven. By the time Shannon arrived, I had three different purses on my shoulder and was asking the (very nice) saleslady for more.

Shannon very patiently waited while I decided between this one:

Zembower $45.00
This one:
Lejenne $45.00
 And finally picked this one:
Pasculli $45.00
The best part? Most of their purses are made of synthetic materials instead of dead animals. Perfect for Preppy Vegans! I can't wait to finally unload that tote bag from my shoulder and wear this around, maybe while shopping with Royar this weekend in West Virginia.

Actually, I've already unveiled the new purchase when I met up with some of my super hot blogger friends last weekend:

Buckhead Saloon: Bad band, fine lookin' ladies

Ok, so you can't really see the purse, but you can see Alyssa from Life of Blyss and Allison from Happy Tales. Yes, we met through our blogs and yes, you should be jealous. They are so awesome. (And thanks to Allison's bf Ryan for driving us around uptown on a Saturday night.)

Hope everyone has a lovely (and well-dressed) Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Onion, "Sausage", and Mushroom Strata

Adapted from this recipe in Ladies Home Journal

When a recent issue of Ladies Home Journal (apparently I'm 63...get over it) had an entire section on egg dishes, I took it as one of my more challenging attempts at "veganizing" recipes. 

I decided to try this one fine Tuesday evening, and this is what my roommate came home to:
Terrible lighting, total deliciousness
I'd pretty much Hoover-ed through at least half of it. Between the bread crumbs, the curry, and the soysauge, I just couldn't get enough. Wanting to save myself a stomachache, I told roomie to eat as much as she wanted. So she had some. And then some more. By the time she was on her third helping, she jokingly told me "I'm mad at you for making this. We are in a fight."

To which I say...sorry that I'm not sorry. 

I wish I'd made this for my birthday celebration, because it was much tastier and less hands-on than my tofu scramble. (And I'm fully aware that tofu scramble doesn't sound appetizing compared to strata. Stick with the strata.) 

If I were cooking Easter brunch, this is what I would be making. Try it and let me know what you think!

Ingredients
2 tbsp coconut or olive oil
2 small onions, thinly sliced root to tip
3 cups sliced mushrooms
1 package soy sausage, like Tofurky
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp tumeric
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
6 cups 1 inch bread cubes (I bought a French bread baguette from SuperTarget)
1 package extra-firm tofu
2 1/2 cups almond (or other non-dairy) milk 
1 tsp kosher salt (it's coarser than regular salt and totally makes a difference)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper


Directions
1. Heat oven to 350.
2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add onions; stir to coat. Cook until onions start to soften, about 2 minutes, then reduce heat to medium and cook until onions are golden and soft, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes; remove from skillet and wipe clean. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet, add mushrooms and saute until golden, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Press tofu between two paper towels to remove excess water. In medium sized bowl, crumble until tofu resembles coarse bread crumbs. Stir in tumeric and curry until throughly mixed. 
4. In a large bowl combine onions, mushrooms, soysauge, thyme, nutritional yeast, and bread cubes. Mix together the tofu, almond milk, salt, and pepper and pour over bread, stirring to coat. 
5. Grease a 2-1/2- to 3-quart baking dish and arrange bread mixture evenly in dish. 
6.  Bake strata until top is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Yum!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Strawberry Scones

Adapted from this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens

After getting a package of organic strawberries in my recent Backyard Produce delivery, I wanted to do something more exciting than just tossing them into my morning cereal. Luckily, I found an easy and delicious Double-Strawberry Scone recipe in a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens. I traded white flour for whole wheat, eggs for applesauce, and cow's milk for the almond variety. The result? Between my roommate and I, the whole batch was gone before it could cool completely. Add it to your Easter brunch and I guarantee you won't have any leftovers. (But if you do, send 'em our way.) Makes 12 scones. 


  • 2-1/2  cups whole wheat flour
  • 2  Tbsp.  agave nectar or brown sugar
  • 1  Tbsp.  baking powder
  • 1/4  tsp.  salt
  • 1/2  cup  (1 stick) non dairy, nonhydrogenated margerine, like Earth Balance
  • 1  cup  chopped fresh strawberries*
  • 2  Tbsp.  oregano
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2  cup  almond milk

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400.
  • 2. In a large bowl stir together the flour, the agave nectar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gently toss in strawberries and basil. 
  • 3. In a separate bowl, stir together applesauce and almond milk. Add mixture to flour mixture all at once. Gently stir until just moistened.
4. Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface. Knead dough by folding and gently pressing it 5 to 7 times. Transfer to a lightly floured parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat or lightly roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick circle. Cut circle into wedges and pull apart slightly.
5. If desired, brush scones with a bit of agave nectar. Bake about 16 minutes or until golden.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Surprise of the Day: Pizza Hut is Vegan-Friendly

When I showed up to babysit my awesome friend Eli on Saturday night, his parents gave us money to order pizza for dinner. Yes, I still get excited at the though of a free dinner. Get over it.

Though vegan, I still looooove pizza. Piled with veggies, that is, and minus the cheese. (Then, when you eat the entire thing in one sitting, there's no guilt! And your bikini still looks great.)

We had a coupon for Pizza Hut, but I figured I would have to call the place and make up some sob story about a deadly case of lactose intolerance instead of just ordering online. (I mean, why subject yourself to human interaction when you could just tap a couple of keys on the keyboard? Waaaay too much work.)

Imagine my surprise when this option lay before me:
They had a no cheese option! Not only that, but my half could be cheese-free, while Eli's could have whatever he wanted on it. So it was plain cheese on his side, no cheese and veggie on mine, and we were on our merry way. 

Out of curiosity, I checked out Papa John's website: 

While I was also impressed that they had a no-cheese option, it wasn't as easy as Pizza Hut's  to specify whether you wanted part or all of your pizza cheese-free.

Now I was on a vegan pizza mission and went to check out ol' Dominos. Dear, sweet Dominos. (I'm saying this in the tone you might say "Bless her heart".) While they do have a no cheese option very similar to Pizza Hut's, this is what pops up after you click it:


Oh.
No.
They.
Didn't.

Keep the Dairy Farmers of America happy? That's actually...dead last on my personal priority list. Perhaps if dairy farmers were more apt to keep the informed consumers of America happy by refusing to participate in animal abuse or sell products filled with antibiotics and growth hormones, we would have a deal. 

Until then...I'll be (joyfully) ordering my pizza cheese free. I hope you will to. Try it, and tell me what you think!

Julie & Julia

On the agenda for the first night of Spring Break 2011:
Cooking (Butternut Squash Risotto...coming soon), body shots drinking wine, and watching Julie and Julia. (Can we say c-r-a-z-y night?)


I hadn't seen this movie since it was in theaters in summer 2009. Back then, I was living in a hovel of an apartment on the Upper East Side, waitressing, and wondering when life was going to get easier. Flash forward to 2011: I'm sitting in my cushy Charlotte apartment; a food blogger watching a movie about a food blogger.

If you'd told me way back when that I was going to care about food, I would have told you to quit smokin' crack. I hated food. (Well, really I just hated working in restaurants that served food, so there you go.) I saw eating as means to an end, not something to be savored and enjoyed. The fact that my main food group was Chinese takeout may have had something to do with this.

It was inspiring to watch Julie & Julia since (like me) both women sort of stumbled into this little thing called cooking. The movie reminded me of a few things:

1) I'm really, really glad I don't live in New York. (Julie's apt? Depressing.)
2) I'm really, really glad I'm a vegan. (Aspics=nauseating.)
3) Even Julia Child wasn't always "Julia Child" (We all start somewhere.)

The Preppy Vegan is officially two weeks old (sniff sniff), and the response has been overwhelmingly invigorating and positive. I've had moms from my school making my recipes, friends trading cow's milk for almond milk, and been invited to join a Charlotte Food Blogging group. (That's my panzanella creation in the pink bowl, natch.)

So...thank you to everyone who has stopped by this little ol'blog. I may not be Julia Child, but did you really want to be eating aspics?

Didn't think so.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bring on the Brunch-fest

Six days from now, I'll be wearing my new Lilly, enjoying Easter brunch with my cousin Royar and our grandparents in Beckley, WV. I'll also be fervently hoping that I'll be able to find vegan fare at the country club, but I'm going to go ahead and assume my feast will consist mostly of fruit. (Yes, mimosas count.)


Zinn Dress Printed $148.00
Between the day drinking and variety of food choices, brunch easily holds its place as my favorite meal. For those of you who are enjoying Easter festivities at home, all of the The Preppy Vegan recipes this week will be brunch-based. 


Since most brunch dishes are egg-based, it's been a a fun challenge to see what I could do sans animal products. At my recent 25th birthday party, I served up some tofu scramble (don't knock it until you've tried it), peach drop biscuits, Morningstar Farms soysauge (get it?), and Red Velvet cupcakes. Oh, and buckets of (strong) mimosas. It may have had something to do with the alcohol, but the crowd was pretty pleased .


The food was infinitely better than this photograph portrays
Tofu Scramble
1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped*
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 16 oz package mushrooms, sliced
2 bell peppers (any color), diced*

1 package extra firm tofu

2 cups spinach leaves
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. Heat oil in pan, and saute onion and garlic for a minute or two. Add mushrooms and pepper, sauteing until peppers are tender and onions are translucent. 
2. Crumble tofu in a bowl and add to sauteing veggies.
3. Add spinach, turmeric, cumin, paprika, and nutritional yeast. Saute for 5-10 minutes, until tofu is yellow and heated through. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Not a bad-looking apple in the bunch
Peach Drop Biscuits
This is just the recipe for Easy Drop Biscuits with some canned peaches tossed in for sweetness and punch. (Think: easy crowd pleaser.)

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) non-dairy margerine, like Earth Balance 
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 can sliced peaches, drained and diced.

1. Heat oven to 400. 
2. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. 
3. Add milk, and peaches, stirring just until moistened. (You may need to add a little extra flour to make up for the moisture of the peaches. No big.)
4. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet. Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes. 

I'll post the Red Velvet recipe later this week. (But trust me, you will be amazed.) Hope everyone is having a great Monday! Don't forget to check out the Joss and Main Lilly Pulitzer sale here

*Organic veggies from Backyard Produce

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fashionable Friday: Target Finds

I still maintain that my reason for jumping ship from NYC to Charlotte was that there wasn't a Target on the island of Manhattan. (You had to go all the way to Brooklyn, which literally took an hour.) It may also have been because I was on the verge of becoming a career waitress, but mostly the Target thing.


Since I don't wear leather and such, Target is one of the few places I can shop for animal-free shoes and bags. On my last haul I got some pretty awesome finds, including:

Doubleweave Skirt $19.99

Adelle Skirt $26.99

Definitely my favorite purchase...(Draped Elastic Waist Dress $24.99)

...especially when it landed us on the Creative Loafing blog
I also bought these:

Pearce Pumps $29.99

which look a little frump-frump here, but trust me: they are hot. In a sexy-librarian kind of way. I can't wait until my skin is actually a tan color so I can pair them with my white shorts.

What else should I be shopping for this spring? I did pretty well on this haul, but I've still got some money burning a hole in my pocket. Help!

Speaking of money burning a hole in your pocket, Joss and Main is having a Lilly "stationary and gift classics" sale starting Monday morning. Click here to join, but don't be upset if I buy everything first. (Because I'm gonna.)

If they have this, I will die. Of pure happiness.


Don't forget to check out our sister site, Haughty by Nature, for some online dating antics!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ensley's Magic Bullet Cucumber Hummus

I originally posted this recipe in a post called Tequila Sold Separately, but wanted to share it with you lovely readers as well. Plus, I took a picture of it this time and think it turned out pretty nicely. 


Since Sabra hummus is like $4.99 at my Harris Teeter, but cans of chik peas are about 89 cents, I'm into just making my own hummus. I use it as a veggie dip, spread it on my sandwiches, drink it with a straw...(too far?). This version is cool, refreshing, and perfect for summertime. 
Food photography is getting better...no?


1 16 oz can garbanzo beans
2 Tbsp Tahini sauce (it's ground up sesame seeds, you can find it in the "ethnic" aisle)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup veggie broth
3/4 cup chopped cucumbers*

Put it all in the Magic Bullet tall cup (or food processor), pulse it (oh yeah!), done.

*Organic from Backyard Produce

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Video blog: The Best Non-Dairy Milks

I tried to pull out my best Racheal Ray/Paula Deen here and create a video blog...it's pretty funny, but mostly because I'm laughing at myself. Feel free to mock when my oven timer goes off...and I have to get up and walk out of the video. Sigh. Maybe this is why Bravo hasn't called to give me my own Housewives franchise yet?

And holy posture...I can just hear my mother telling me to sit up straight. Sorry Madre.



Now that I'm signing myself up for a Hosting 101 class, what milks are your favorite? Soy? Almond? A hemp-and-oat cocktail? Do tell.

Don't forget to check out our sister site, Haughty by Nature, for humor that's intentional and not posture-related.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Best Pizza You Will Ever Eat

One of my biggest goals with The Preppy Vegan is to show you, dear reader, how to eat healthy and compassionately without using lots of "replacement" foods, like soy cheese or Veganaise. I haven't heard very good things about a lot of those type of products. (The words "totally disgusting" have been thrown around.) Plus, those kinds of food tend to be pretty expensive, and I'm all about saving $$ on food. I'd rather have a new Lilly.

This or soy cheese...hmmm. 
One product that I highly recommend for vegan and non-vegan pantries alike is called Nutritional Yeast (gross name, not gross taste). You can find it on Amazon.com or Vitacost.com, it's inexpensive ($10-$15 for 22oz), and it's packed with tons of B vitamins, protein, and fiber. The best part? It tastes like cheese, and has somewhat of the consistency of grated Parmesan. I've used to to create Alfredo sauces, enchilada sauces, and all kinds of other recipes that called for cheese. Many of my recipes call for this, and it's so worth it. Buy it, love it, you won't regret it.
I ordered this kind from vitacost.com and it's lasted about 3 months. Ka-ching!
Ok now on to the recipes. I've created a vegan pizza that will make you want to keel over and die it's so delicious. Seriously. My non-vegan friends have said things like "I didn't know vegan could taste this good" and "This is the best pizza I've ever tasted." (I didn't pay them, I swear.)

It really is just that good. I've experiemented with making my own pizza dough, and it's come out beautifully, but I've also made this with store-bought (hello, SuperTarget!) crust.

Homemade whole wheat crust with pineapple, peppers, zucchini, onions, and olives
If you want to make your own crust (don't knock it until you've tried it!), follow my recipe for (Really) Easy Pizza Dough.
Store-bough Target crust with pesto, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach
Either way, once I have a crust, I brush it with olive oil, sprinkle liberally with nutritional yeast (probably close to 1/4 c.), spread on some pesto, and add whatever veggies are in my fridge at the moment. I don't have a pizza stone or anything (want to buy me one?), so my homemade dough is just spread out on a thin cookie sheet (see above). I pop that baby in a 400 degree oven for 25 minutes and then sit back and relax as everyone coos over my Martha Stewart-like skills. 

Make it once without any cheese and see what you think. If you totally have to have it, then sprinkle a little on the next time. Considering a slice of cheese-only Dominoes pizza has 312 calories per slice, The Preppy Vegan version is much more bikini friendly. A slice of my homemade version above has about 140 calories, a ton of fiber, and an insignificant amount of fat, even if you put pesto on there. Sounds like a pretty good deal, right? It is. 

(Really) Easy Pizza Dough

It's easy enough to buy your own store-bough pizza crust, but since most of them have a ton of ingredients I can't pronounce (read: not good for you) I'd rather make my own. Once you try it, I promise you'll prefer this version, too. 

And trust me, I'm a total novice in the kitchen who owns one measuring cup and two pots and pans. Before this, I'd never made anything sort of bread or dough that rose, and was totally scared that I wouldn't get the right water temperature and all of my yeast would die a slow painful death, blah blah blah. Guess what? Didn't happen. 

Lurve this book. Check it out here

I adapted this from the Basic Pizza Dough recipe in The Vegan Table. Call mine the lazy-girl's version. Makes dough for two round pizzas, or one 24x16 cookie sheet.

1 cup warm water (warm to the touch but not too hot)
1 envelope or 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 Tbsp agave nectar
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp olive oil

To find the right water temperature, run it over your wrist until it feels comfortable. Too cold, the yeast won't activate, too hot, and it will die. Nobody wants that. 

Pour water in a small bowl. Sprinkle in yeast, add agave nectar, and stir (gently!) until both dissolve. You should have a smooth, beige mixture. Let stand for 5 minutes. When you come back, there should be a layer of foam on the surface. That foam=effective yeast. Pat yourself on the back, Master Chef. (If you don't have foam, toss mixture and try again. Thanks for playing.)

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add yeast mixture and oil, and stir vigorously until dough holds together. Now, this is where I get lazy. The Vegan Table tells me that I need to knead my dough for 10-15 minutes. I say "hells no, I got things to do". So I don't. If it's still a little sticky, I add some flour and mush it around, but otherwise I leave it alone. 

Then, cover it with a dishtowel and place it in a warm spot for 45 minutes to an hour. I like to turn my oven onto the warm setting for a few mintues, turn it off, and place my bowl in there. (Make sure oven is OFF, and don't use a plastic bowl.)

Resist the urge to check it and "see how it's doing" every 5 minutes like I do. It will rise. When time is up, I take it out of the oven and spread it out on a greased cookie sheet. 

Really easy, right?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coconut Curry Chowder

Adapted from a Curried Shrimp and Corn Chowder recipe in Southern Living.

Though I didn't have a vegan "replacement" for shrimp, the ingredients in this coconut curry sounded too good to pass up. What's a Preppy Vegan to do? Remove the shrimp, add in some chik peas for protein, and be on her way

Found this brand at Food Lion/Harris Teeter
TJ's has a good version as well

The verdict? Hands-down, this is the best soup OR curry dish I've EVER made. I could not get enough. I ate it for lunch and dinner every day until it was gone, and even then I wish I'd had more. The lite coconut milk sweetens the spice of the curry, and the sweet potatoes were almost too good to be true. This recipe is super simple, and your probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already. 

You're welcome.

  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil (or 2 Tbsp olive oil)
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, diced*
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 large Yukon gold potatoes (14 oz.), peeled and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato (1 lb.), peeled and diced*
  • 1 can yellow corn (preferably no salt added; I found some at Target)
  • 1 (14-oz.) can vegetable broth
  • 1 (13.5-oz.) can lite coconut milk
  • 1 (14-oz.) can chik peas
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

1.Sauté onion in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender; add garlic, and sauté 1 minute. 

2.Add gold potatoes, sweet potato, and rest of ingredients; bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

*Organic veggies from Backyard Produce

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