Monday, December 05, 2016

Book Review & Giveaway: But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!

 This excellent cartoon by the brilliant Ms. Roz Chast, from The New Yorker, is a family favorite, because it almost literally sums up our family. My mom keeps a copy of it in her kitchen. Cooking for our family is half hilarious, and mostly just impossible. I used to try, but I gave up a long time ago. These days we tend toward more of a pot luck approach, or at least a "several dishes" approach, so everyone will find something they will eat. We've got super picky, vegan, no-oil and no-salt vegan, standard American diet, gluten-free, soy-free, generally skeptical, and at least one person who is happy to eat anything tasty (Hi Mom!). 

For all of these reasons, I absolutely love the title of my friend Kristy Turner's new book: "But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!" Ha ha, obviously, this is the book for me! If you enjoy cooking for loved ones, but experience vegan-resistance, picky kiddos, varying tastes, difficulty planning holiday menus, this might be the book for you, too! Kristy blogs at Keepin' It Kind and has written another cookbook called "But I Could Never Go Vegan." 

a book the whole family can enjoy! 

This new book is chock full of recipes for all different occasions with a huge variety of recipes, and each recipe is clearly marked with icons to indicate things like "gluten-free" "gluten-free option" "soy free" "nut free" "plan ahead" and so on. The vast majority of the book is gluten-free, and that should be inviting and welcome for those of you who are GF or who cook for GFers. 

minestrone rules the world

There aren't many foods that I love as much as I love minestrone soup. I have my own recipe, which I am quite pleased with, but I am also always interested in other people's minestrone recipes. Kristy's recipe for Tempeh Sausage Minestrone has all sorts of excellent veggies that I don't usually include in my minestrone: broccoli florets, mushrooms, fennel, and peas! We especially loved the broccoli and mushrooms. I might have to add those to my own recipe next time. I also loved the chewy Tempeh Sausage Crumbles and the flavor, texture, and protein that they contributed to the soup. The seasoning was also quite different from my recipe - this recipe includes paprika! Paprika certainly isn't very Italian, but the end result of the soup was still delicious. Because of the paprika, Mr. VE&T nicknamed this soup "Hungarian Minestrone" - he loves Hungarian flavors, so this is definitely a compliment in his eyes. 

The recipe is from the chapter titled: 
"But this recipe has been passed down for generations! 
Classic Family Recipes (Veganized) That Even Grandma Will Approve Of! "

Hummus night for dinner!

I can be a bit of a hummus traditionalist (no red pepper hummus for me, thank you very much!), but something about this Artichoke Kale Hummus caught my eye and I had to make it. It's full of artichoke hearts and 3 cups of kale! The end result was really good - sort of a hybrid between spinach artichoke dip and hummus. It was different enough and familiar enough to be delicious and interesting! This recipe also make a metric tonne of hummus, so unless I'm making it for a party, next time I'll probably make a half-batch. One night we had a big hummus + pita bread + veggies platter. Another night we had pita pockets with this hummus mixed with some tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, parsley, and cooked quinoa. It was great! 

This recipe is from the chapter called: 
"There's no way vegan food can make everyone happy at once:
Adaptable Meals That Even The Pickiest Eaters Can Enjoy With The Rest Of You"

a great way to kick off the morning! 

I always wake up with a ready-to-eat appetite, and I especially love mornings where I have my breakfast plan all figured out ahead of time, so that I can get straight to work eating. As soon as I saw the recipe for the Savory Breakfast Casserole, my eyes lit up! This recipe is packed full with protein and flavor: tofu, chickpea flour, tempeh crumbles, excellent seasoning, bell pepper - and even hash browns! So yummy and unlike anything I've ever made before! 

As you can see, it really made a lot. I cut it into 10 pieces and had it for breakfast for 10 days. It was rad! It also reheated really well in the microwave. Mine turned out a little bit drier than I would have liked, so I had it with salsa, which was great.  I think this happened because I used my special super absorbent chickpea flour, but next time I will probably use either softer tofu or a little more milk, just to be sure.  Either way, I'll probably still enjoy it with salsa though, because that was a good combo.

This recipe is from the chapter called:
"My family demands bacon and eggs for breakfast:
Vegan Dishes to Get Everyone's Day Off To A Good Start"

Quick Bacon Crumbles
(also Quick Sausage Crumbles, by altering the seasoning)

Both the minestrone and the savory breakfast casserole called for these Quick Bacon Crumbles (in the minestrone, the seasoning is changed, and they become Quick Sausage Crumbles). This recipe really is quick, as promised, and in both cases these tempeh crumbles added a lot to the final dish. 

This recipe is from the chapter titled:
"Vegan Pantry Staples That Your Family Will Be Willing To Use" 

morning delights.

Here's my morning slice of breakfast casserole, with mandatory seasonal Fuyu persimmon, and the beauty of low, winter light and long shadows. Not pictured: morning coffee, crossword puzzle, bowl of salsa. I'm going to have to make another batch of this, because I miss having this delicious and satisfying breakfast waiting for me every morning!

enjoying my breakfast casserole very much,
complete with my sidekick Yummers

totally delicious and perfect

My fella, Mr. VE&T, has a deep and abiding love for tomato soup. I think he would be happy if I made tomato soup every night for dinner. So, whenever I find a new tomato soup recipe, I'll give it a go. Kristy's recipe for Creamy Roasted Garlic-Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons especially caught my attention because I love garlic, and the idea of grilled cheese croutons pretty much made my head explode! 

This soup uses 4 pounds of fresh tomatoes (I LOVE a recipe that actually calls for fresh tomatoes!!!!), and a whole head of roasted garlic. Mmm. This recipe results in a rich, simple, classic tomato soup that leaves nothing to be desired. I appreciate all the creative spins on tomato soup over the years, but I also appreciate a solid, reliable recipe, and this is just that. For the grilled cheese croutons, there is a recipe for homemade cashew cheese, but I had some Field Roast Chao Cheese open in the fridge, so I used that in the interest of weeknight laziness. I loved this dinner, and I loved the joy of grilled cheese croutons as much as I thought I would. Seriously, who thinks of that? What a good idea.

This recipe is from a chapter called:
"There's no way vegan food can make everyone happy at once:
Adaptable Meals That Even The Pickiest Eaters Can Enjoy With The Rest Of You"

spicy balls of yum

I don't mean to be a complainer, but these days it seems like a lot of vegan cookbooks include a lot of very similar recipes. It's always fun to find recipes for flavors or combinations that look new or like something I don't eat very often. These Jalepeño Popper Bites (with leftover tomato soup in the background!) were just like that - definitely felt like something new and interesting to make and to eat! Instead of these jalepeno peppers having filling stuffed into a jalepeno pepper, Kristy's recipe calls for all the ingredients to be mixed together into a hush-puppy-like popper! They've got quinoa, corn flour, minced jalepeno, spices, vegan cream cheese... all mixed up and baked or fried in little balls. I chose to bake mine, which was easy and the results were great. The recipe calls for 3-4 jalepenos, and I went the conservative route... but next time I will go big and use 4 for extra jalepeno flavor and heat! They were especially good served with a generous dollop of salsa! She says they are best the day they're made, but I enjoyed mine leftover the next day just fine! 

This recipe is from a chapter titled:
 "What can I serve at the big game day party that won't get pushed to the side? 
Decadent Snackage That Nobody Will Guess is Vegan"

sparkly holiday cookies 

 Did you really think that I was going to review this book and not cook something from the desserts chapter? Not a chance! I made the Gingerbread Cookies for our recent Friendsgiving gathering. They are so good: great flavor and great chewy texture. You can't tell from this picture, but they are also rolled in a little bowl of cinnamon sugar before getting pressed and baked. It's such a nice touch! 
They're made with oat flour, almond flour, molasses, coconut oil, great spices, fresh and dried ginger, and coconut sugar. I have a wonderful gingerbread cookie recipe that I love to make, which isn't GF, and I've been wanting a GF recipe to make alongside it - I've finally found my recipe! 

This recipe is from the chapter titled:
 "It's just not the holidays without Aunt Betty's pumpkin pie: 
Vegan Dishes That Will Start New Holiday Traditions" 

golden bars of yumtown

I also made the Salted Vanilla Maple Blondies! I made these for my good friend who came over and spent the day with our pets so that Mr VE&T and I could go up to San Francisco for the evening. These treats are gluten-free, moist but not dense, have a lovely fluffy crumb without being crumbly, and have a great light vanilla flavor! Such a delicious treat and yet another great GF treat to have up my sleeve. I also really appreciate the relatively healthy approach of these cookies: sweetened with less-processed coconut sugar and maple syrup, the fat comes almost entirely from cashew butter (and she tells you how to turn your cashews into cashew butter!), and the flours are oat flour and sweet white rice flour. So delicious and not heavy or post-sweetie-crash-inducing either! 

This recipe is from the chapter called:
"My sister things vegan baking is something only hippies do: 
Vegan Baked Goods That You Don't Have To Be A Hippie To Love"

This book also has some of the best chapter titles ever. They are accurate, fun, and funny. In addition to the ones I've already shared, here are a few more good ones - just to give you a sense of how many things Kristy has taken into account with this book:
* "My teenagers just want to 'fit in' with their friends when it comes to what they eat: 
Vegan Food Cool Enough for Sports Games, Sleepovers, and Just Hanging Out." 
* "What will I bring to potlucks and summer barbecues? 
Vegan Recipes Big Enough to Feed A Crowd"
* "The In-Laws will just add this to their list of my faults:
Impressive Meals That Will Leave Them With Only Good Things To Say About You"

In addition to the great things I've already made, 
here are a handful of other recipes that caught my eye: 
Cauliflower Parmigiana
Cabbage Casserole 
Lasagna Soup
Pumpkin Chai Scones
Grandma's Famous Date Nut Bread
Mushroom and Lentil Soup Mix
(from the Homemade Edible Gifts chapter -!! )

Kristy and her publishers at The Experiment (have you noticed that they publish such great and beautiful vegan cookbooks?!) are letting me offer a copy of BMFWNEV to one lucky reader (US & Canada only). To enter, leave a comment on this post and tell me about your best success feeding vegan food to your family, or your biggest disaster! ha ha. Please make sure to include your email or an easy way for me to contact you, or I will just pick a different winner. Good luck! 


** GoMacro Thrive Bar Giveaway Winner! **
Congratulations to Karen Hardin (randomly chosen, comment #3) 
for winning a case of assorted Thrive bars by GoMacro!
Karen, send me your mailing info and I will arrange to have the bars sent to you!
ameyfm at yahoo dot com 

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Product Review & Giveaway: GoMacro Thrive Bars

New Thrive Bars by GoMacro

I have a very sweet yoga student who comes to class somewhat irregularly, but when he does come, he often brings me a snack. He's brought me several great bars recently, and even a bag of that delicious curry popcorn from Trader Joes. He was the one who introduced me to the bars by GoMacro. He brought me one to class, and I loved it! The original GoMacro bars come in a bunch of flavors - my favorite flavors are always the ones with chocolate. Those bars run from 240-290 calories a bar, with anywhere from 4-12 grams of protein.

Recently GoMacro reached out to me and offered me the opportunity to review their newest offering - a line of "superfood seeds & nuts" bars based with less-processed ingredients called Thrive Bars. All of these bars are Vegan, Organic, Non-GMO, and Gluten-free. The base of all six flavors is a blend of organic sprouted flax seeds, hemp seeds, and puffed quinoa - sweetened with organic brown rice syrup and organic coconut sugar. They each also have organic sprouted brown rice protein. From that starting point, each bar has a different range of ingredients depending on the flavor. The ingredients really are pretty impressive - organic, wholesome, plain english. I really like that . The wrappers have a tag line on them that says "ingredients grown not made," which seems completely accurate. I don't mind an occasional bar full of processed soy protein, but it's nice to have some tasty less-processed options around. These bars are all 190 calories, and depending on the flavor, have anywhere from 5-8 grams of protein per bar.

all those bars lined up in their wrappers made me think of a slumber party.
sleep tight! 

My 3 Favorite Flavors

Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip - Any time a bar comes in chocolate peanut butter flavor, that is always going to be my favorite! This bar is extra peanutty with big chocolate chips, and didn't let me down. I also appreciated the cocoa powder in the base, which gives the bar an extra level of chocolatey-ness, especially for such a wholesome and whole-foods bar.

Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt - This bar has some nice nutty chunks in it, which give a good crunch, along with full-size chocolate chips, and a bright touch to the flavor from the salt. 

Caramel Coconut - This flavor surprised me, I wouldn't have expected to like it as much as I did since it doesn't even have chocolate in it (ha ha). In both flavor and texture, it's very coconutty! All of these bars are chewy and substantial, but I especially loved the texture of this bar.

*I was also happy to see that GoMacro is on the FEP Approved Chocolate list - meaning that their chocolate sources don't use childhood slave labor. yes!

Almond Apricot - I love apricots, but I felt like the apricot flavor didn't come through much in this bar. I felt like I was mostly tasting the base ingredients. Perhaps if I wasn't expecting or hoping for more apricot-ness, I wouldn't have noticed. There are definitely lots of almonds though, and this bar has a good nutty crunch to it. 

Ginger Lemon - This bar was another one that really surprised me - the nice ginger flavor really comes through right away - both in aroma and flavor. This bar is more chewy than crunchy, which I enjoyed. The lemony hit is not upfront or overwhelming at all, but it's there. I really liked this flavor more than I expected to, since I usually think of myself as a chocolate+peanut butter gal! 

Blueberry Lavender - This was probably my least favorite of the three, but I could have predicted that from the get-go since I am not really a fan of lavender in my food. That said, I wished the blueberry flavor presence was stronger, and honestly I didn't even pick up that much on the lavender. 

You can have sack races with your thrive bar friends!

such beautiful packaging!

Here is something else that I would really like to salute GoMacro for: gorgeous, aesthetically pleasing, environmentally-friendly packaging. This case of twelve bars came in such a lovely box of unbleached cardboard, with their elegant embossed graphics on it. So beautiful and such a minimal waste. I frequently receive products for review and often the shipping packaging is overflowing with plastic and styrofoam and layers upon layers of packaging. This was such a pretty and sensible packaging presentation, I was so impressed.

** Giveaway! ** 
Guess what else is impressive? In addition to sending me a case of Thrive Bars to review, GoMacro is happy to offer a case of assorted flavors to one lucky blog reader (US only). To enter, please leave a comment on this post and tell me what your favorite bar is so far. Also, check out GoMacro on Facebook and on Instagram.

Guess what else!! Even if you don't win, GoMacro has a 30% coupon code good for their Thrive bars if you'd like to give them a try. The code will work once per customer and is Thrive30 - use it at their site, 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Something New for Thanksgiving!

After many years of huge family gatherings for Thanksgiving, this year we found ourselves in totally new territory: just 4 family members! My dad is over in China doing some astronomy work, my brother and his gal went up to Portland, neither of my aunts are in town... and it was just me, Mr. VE&T, my mom, and my nephew! As long as it's not what it once was, why not embrace something completely new?

So, this year, our mini family gang combined Gratitude Forces with my super special friends Sophia & Kendra and a couple of their friends for a wonderful feast and evening together! I've had several fancy vegan Thanksgiving dishes that I've been wanting to make for a few years now... but with no one besides me to eat them, it hardly seemed like a good use of my time and energy. This year we had 2 vegans and 2 more vegetarians, and pretty much everyone else was a vegan food enthusiast! I seized the moment! 

a giant baking sheet covered with marinated & roasted Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts Sliders (recipe from NY Times

I've had this recipe for Brussels Sprouts Sliders bookmarked since last year - it was a bit time consuming, but not at all difficult. The Brussels and tempeh are marinated in a pretty spicy marinade, however the end result isn't spicy at all - just well spiced. These are like cute little burgers with buns made of roasted brussels, and with super delicious caramelized onions and marinated & roasted tempeh. I read the comments and most people suggested doubling the marinade, which I did - and I was glad.

Two of our beloved friend guests are gluten-free - and it was only after I finished roasting the tempeh that I realized that Trader Joes' tempeh has barley in it and isn't gluten-free! Damn! So, I made a quick batch of soy curls, using the same seasoning as the recipe called for. You can tell which sliders are made with gf soy curls because they have the rainbow flag toothpicks!

Spinach Florentine Casserole, from Vegan Casseroles

I just love Julie Hasson's cookbook Vegan Casseroles, and I really love this recipe for Spinach Florentine Casserole. It's like a super great sophisticated spin on vegan mac n cheese: rich and creamy, with a dash of sherry and a touch of nutmeg. I haven't had this dish for a while, but I remembered why I love it so much. Wintertime is the perfect time to cook more casseroles! 

Giant Salad!

I love the palette-cleansing quality of a good green salad, in the midst of a rich and hearty Thanksgiving meal - so I made a ginormous salad full of super fresh goodies from the farmers market. Of course I called my mom and asked if she would make the salad dressing though, because my mom makes the world's best salad dressing. As I was taking this picture, trying to capture the last rays of daylight, little Yummers Potatoes got pretty excited about "his" giant bowl of veggies - I had to hurry up and take that picture! ha ha. Little veggie lover!

Yummers' fantasy! 

My Pride and Joy!

Here's my piece de resistance ~ The Vegetables Wellington from My friend Gabrielle told me about this recipe a couple of years ago, and I've been wanting to tackle it ever since. This is a super fun Big Project that takes a long time to make, is pretty complicated, and has lots of steps. I read through all the comments, which was pretty helpful -- even though many different opinions are expressed! ha ha. I got started a couple days before thanksgiving and made all the components ahead of time. On Thanksgiving Day, I just had to assemble it and bake it! Honestly, I think you could definitely simplify the recipe in many ways, and still end up with something pretty fantastic. 
very pleased with myself! 

Here are the parts:
*An inside roll of cashew-roasted white bean mixture with mushrooms and sunflower seeds
*Wrapped in phyllo, and then rolled inside a layer Mushroom Duxelles with roasted carrots
*Wrapped in phyllo, and rolled in a layer again of the cashew-bean mixture
*Whole thing wrapped in phyllo! 

A second mini-loaf, gluten free!

In this whole recipe, chock full of umami and nuts and millions of mushrooms - there were only two elements that weren't gluten-free: panko bread crumbs, and the phyllo dough. I wanted to figure out a way to make this special fancy dish gluten-free for my gluten-freebie friends... so, I thought of yuba! I made some yuba sheets (used the recipe from The Homemade Vegan Pantry) - and made a mini wellington using the yuba. The panko was easy to replace with gf panko.

an inside shot of my yuba wellington

One thing about this recipe is that it makes a metric ton of food. The end result was just huge. For my mini gluten-free loaf, I made a 1/4 recipe and this wasn't hard to do. If you're just feeding a couple people - I think halving or quartering the recipe is the way to go! 

For the yuba Wellington, I oiled and roasted each "layer" briefly in the toaster oven, to help each inner layer have a good crispy crackle. I was so happy with how it turned out - and so was my GF pal! 

inside shot 

The whole creation was positively huge - which I am all for! This way, we had plenty for leftovers. Woot! I love how beautiful it looks when you slice into it! It was super delicious, full of excellent textures, rich but not over-bearing, and felt special and festive. I'm so glad I finally had a chance to tackle such a special kitchen project! 

A festive feast! 

I forgot to take nice pictures of the dishes everyone else brought (what a cad!) - but they're captured here: a lovely lentil loaf, green salad, the Wellington, green beans with lemon and slivered almonds, stuffing (one of my favorite foods of all time!), perfect mashed potatoes and gravy, and the pasta casserole. I ate *almost* all of this! Ha ha ha.

The food was all so good - my friend Sophia is some kind of gravy genius! Plus, my mom made her amazing cranberry sauce - it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it! 

look at those cracks! 

We are all committed Dessert Enthusiasts, so we had three desserts! I was in charge of pumpkin pie - and I made a full sized pie with traditional crust and a half sized pie with a gf crust. I always use the recipe from Voluptuous Vegan (it's the same recipe that Isa has on her website here). I bought this half-sized pie dish almost 2 years ago, and I think this was my first time finally using it! I think half-pies are cute and kinda perfect-sized. 

My GF crust turned out really well. I used the recipe for a GF crust from Pies & Tarts with Heart, and I used a homemade GF flour mix, based on the ingredients in Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1. Even though I enjoy eating gluten, I also really enjoy baking gluten free treats for my GF friends. 

I love the texture and flavor of this recipe so much, but I got such big cracks in my pie! Does anyone know why that happened, or if there's a way to avoid it next time? Overall, I don't suppose it matters - but it would look prettier without the cracks! 

plate of delicious desserts

Yum zone!  Max made an apple pie, which Mr VE&T and I both agreed was possibly the best apple pie we'd ever had! It was so full of apples and his crust was amazing! I was feeling pretty pleased with my crust on the pumpkin pie, until I tried his crust! I will have to learn at the feet of his crust mastery. Sophia made a big batch of the Pecan Pie Truffles - one of my favorite recipes ever! She's quite clever though, and she figured out that she could make them in bar form instead of dealing with rolling them in balls and all that. And of course they're just as yummy this way! 

It was so fun and amazing to have such a huge VEGAN spread of holiday fare! My mom did actually make "the dish which shall not be named" (her words! ha ha!) - but it was relocated out into the kitchen and wasn't the centerpiece of the evening. After 29 years of celebrating Thanksgiving as a vegetarian/vegan, this was my first time having that experience. 

There's definitely a big part of my heart that misses the huge family gatherings of yesteryear, but it was fun and refreshing to embrace a whole new experience and menu! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Friendsgiving Feast!

This weekend, my pals and I had our annual Friendsgiving Celebration. It was so nice to be together. Back in the day, we used to have potlucks and gatherings so much more frequently, but these days all of our lives are a little more full and getting together takes a bit more work. It was a lovely evening together - catching up, eating, talking, and just enjoying each other's company. My friend's little boy has always been so shy around me and this weekend he brought card games to the party and we played Go Fish together - it was so rad, and a real highlight of the evening for me!

 Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

I wanted to make something "Thanksgiving-y" and savory, but I also wanted it to be gluten-free because one of my special friends is GF. I found this recipe for  Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce from the Oh She Glows blog and I'm really glad I gave it a go. The texture was just perfect - they held together well, weren't too dry or too sticky, and the seasoning and textures are great. Lentils, walnuts, oat flour, dried cranberries... there's a lot going on in these little dumplings, but it's all very harmonious. I had three left over and I ate them for a snack on Sunday morning.

The cranberry sauce was quick and fun to make. I reduced the syrup by half, and substituted the rest of the volume with fresh squeezed orange juice. I also used an apple instead of a pear because I still have an abundance of apples from our apple tree!

These were pretty easy to make, and I could see having these as a weeknight dinner. 
They were also fun to eat!

Mashed Potatoes & Roasted Butternut Squash

Mr. H made a huge and wonderfully classic vat of mashed potatoes -- these were so good and I, for one, absolutely appreciated that there was nothing "modern" or "creative" about them. Mashed Potatoes are already a perfect food, and are an obvious necessity at any Thanksgiving Day celebration! 

My mom came to the party too (thanks to my pals for letting me invite her too!) and she brought a big bowl of roasted butternut squash slices. This is the way my grandma, her mom, always prepared butternut squash, and it is a family favorite. It felt good to have this nostalgic and emotionally important treat as a part of our potluck -- especially made by my mom and served in a ceramic bowl that she made herself, way back in the day! 

 Green Bean Casserole 

Ms. A made the Green Bean Casserole from Isa's newest cookbook "Superfun Times!" Also, Mr. VE&T just got a cool new smartphone and took a bunch of pictures for me - including this one). This casserole was creamy and full of green beans and broccoli (a clever adaptation to an insufficient supply of green beans!), with crunchy crispy onions on top. Green bean casserole was never a thing in my family, and in fact I'm not sure I'd ever had it before this weekend, but I know it's a holiday classic for lots of people and it was fun to finally try it. I didn't even bother with a small serving size to taste it first, I just dove in with a huge scoop, and experienced no regrets!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cornbread
photo by Mr. VE&T

Ms. A also made some lovely Pumpkin Cornbread, and used GF flour instead. It came out so well! It was just a little sweet and a little pumpkiny and still a lot cornbread-y. It really seems to me like gluten free flour mixes have come a long way, because this bread was really great! 

Vegan Classic: Sesame Nooch Tofus
pic by Mr. VE&T 

Our lovely hostess Ms. S made this batch of little baked tofus, which were So Damned Good. I swear to you. She said they were simple - marinated in tamari and then dredged in nooch and sesame seeds and then baked, but oh man, they were so good. I went back for seconds. I feel like I would enjoy having a huge tub of these in the fridge for nibbles and snacking. They were tofu perfections. I will see if I can track down the recipe and report back.

stuffing my pockets full of tofus

Massaged Brussels Sprouts Salad
pic by Mr. VE&T

Ms. N brought a big bowl of a lightly dressed Massaged Brussels Sprouts Salad. The brussels were sliced super thin (how did she do that?) and then turned almost into a slaw. It was a light and bright salad, a perfect balance to all the other rich and savory flavors going around, and a fun way to eat Brussels sprouts too. 

Plate of Nourishment
Good food prepared by friends I am so grateful for!

Look at that beautiful spread of deliciousness... How lucky I am to have such lovely friends who are also such great cooks and whose company I appreciate more and more with time! We were discussing when it was that we all first met each other (on the PPK, and then in person!), and it was sometime in 2007/2008. I feel super grateful to have made such meaningful and enduring friendships throughout. We had a great time eating away, sharing about what we had each made, and talking vegan food - among a myriad of other topics as well! 

my special buddies! 

Pumpkin Pie!

Of course you gotta have Pumpkin Pie! Ms. K made a lovely GF pumpkin pie with a nut crust that was really nice. I always love pumpkin pie and I like trying all the different variations that are out there in the world. When I first went vegan, it seemed like I would just never have pumpkin pie again -- and I'm so glad that assumption has absolutely been proven wrong!

Ms. S also made a big batch of pumpkin rice krispy treats and the were incredibly delicious but I somehow didn't get a picture of them. Negligent blogger! She used Pumpkin Dandies AND actual pumpkin in them, and they were great. I am a fan of all forms of rice crispy treats and hadn't ever had Pumpkin ones before! 

Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Walnuts

Boy Howdy! This was so fancy and delicious! Ms. N made this Pumpkin Caramel Tart with Walnuts - veganized and de-glutenized from this Bon Appetit recipe - and it was wonderful. The crust was nutty and shortbready but not too dense or heavy, and the filling was creamy and pumpkiny - but definitely a different spin than a traditional pumpkin pie. My favorite part of all was probably the candied nuts on top though. They provided such a great crunch and a burst of flavor.

Gingerbread Cookies

Lastly but not leastly, I brought along a batch of the Gingerbread Cookies from "But My Family Would Never Eat Vegan!" -- you'll probably have to see this picture again soon when I do my review of this great new cookbook. These cookies are gluten-free, and were easy to make, and are dark with molasses and all the right gingerbread spices. I love pretty much all things gingerbread! I also love having more and more great GF recipes for treats that I can bake and share with my gf friends, family, and yoga students. 

 Do you have a Friendsgiving celebration with any of your pals? For me, it has been a lovely way to spend some quality time with this special group of friends, and also a way for us each to have a fully vegan Thanksgiving - no questions asked: you can eat everything on the table! A celebration of both friend abundance and vegan deliciousness abundance!

"Aquafaba!" Winner!!
Speaking of gratitude: I'm grateful to Vegan Heritage Press for letting me offer a copy of Zsu Dever's newest cookbook "Aquafaba!" to a lucky winner: 
Congratulations to Comment #32: Kimmy the Vegan!