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Happy MoFo 2012!

29 Sep

Vegan MoFo is almost upon us!

I am so excited to discover new blogs, make new friends, and drool over the beautiful, creative dishes that do such a great job of spreading the messages of compassion and good vegan eats. Last year I fell in love with RandoMofo, a fantastic round-up site that brings you to a different blog with each page refresh. Check it out!

vegan mofo

This is my second year participating in MoFo and I am going to try really hard to post every day. I’m in the process of finishing up my thesis and convincing people to give me a job (oh please oh please someone hire me!!!), so I want to stick with an easy theme — “fall foods”. Basically I’m going to try out and take pretty pictures of cool fall recipes in my cookbooks. I will have some structure, and it will go something like:

Monday — breakfast
Tuesday — salad
Wednesday — soup
Thursday — main course
Friday — drinks and a snack/appetizer
Saturday — dessert
Sunday — fall activity or restaurant review

When I signed up to be on the MoFo blog roll I think I categorized my blog as “healthy/whole foods”, which I will try to stick to. Some posts are going to be decadent (especially dessert!), but for the most part my blog will feature nutritious, healthy foods. I’m also going to do at least one giveaway, which will definitely include some hand knitted goodies made by me, possibly some delicious fall preserves or other yummy treat, and a copy of Happy Herbivore.

Woohoo! This is going to be a great MoFo! See you in October and don’t forget to bring your eatin’ pants!


Layered no-bake chocolate pumpkin cheesecake

4 Dec

I went to a vegan Thanksgiving potluck and for dessert I wanted to bring a no-bake pumpkin cheesecake. Well, there are vegan no-bake cheesecakes and there are omni pumpkin cheesecake recipes, but nothing I found really sounded very good! Inspired by Sunset Magazine’s November issue, I decided to adapt their recipe for a no-bake icebox cake for my purposes. It came out really well, even if an actual slice never made it into my mouth (more on that later…)!

I made a few modifications, so check the recipe below!


24 oz cream cheese (3 packages)*
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 tbsp cream**
1/8 tsp salt
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp agar flakes in 1/2 cup water
chocolate graham crackers (store-bought or homemade)
unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
paper cutouts of leaves

With a mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugars until smooth. Then beat in pumpkin, creamer, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla.

Combine the agar and water in a large measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir with a whisk and microwave 30 seconds more. Whisk again and let cool 1 min. Quickly add to the cream cheese mix while whisking rapidly until thoroughly combined. Let mix sit until cooled and set.

Cover the bottom of a 9″X9″ pan with graham crackers. Spread 1/4 of pumpkin mixture over crackers. Layer three more times, ending with pumpkin mixture.

Cover and chill overnight. Set leaf cutouts on top and dust with cocoa powder, then remove. Cut into squares and serve!

*Cream cheese: I made 2 cups of cashew cream cheese and added one package of Tofutti brand cream cheese. You could use all cashew cheese (will taste less like cheesecake) or all Tofutti. I’m trying to get away from relying on so much processed stuff, so I compromised by using mostly cashew cheese for richness and healthfulness while the little bit of Tofutti added the right amount of cream cheese flavor.

**Creamer: I used 2 tbsp soy milk powder, mixed with just enough warm water to dissolve. You could also use soy creamer or coconut cream.

A note about agar: 2 tbsp of flakes will get you a thick pudding-like consistency. If you want it to be more jelled, I would add 4 tbsp. And make sure to rapidly whip/stir when adding the agar or little bits will clump up and give you something like tapioca pudding!

It came out beautifully, but unfortunately I dropped the whole thing on my way into the potluck and it smashed into a million billion pieces. I was SO SAD!!! My boyfriend is determined to have me make another one because he really wanted to try it, so stay tuned! Hopefully I’ll get a few shots of the next one before I klutz it up again 😉 Here’s the…erm….after shot:


MoFo #14: A very MoFo birthday

17 Oct

This past Saturday was my 26th birthday! The thing I love the most about birthdays is the food! On my family’s b-days it’s an opportunity for me to try out fancy shmancy dinner and cake recipes and on my own birthday it’s a time to go out to awesome restaurants and try store-bought vegan cakes.  I love it!

Well, this year I hurt my back exercising so we decided to stay in and cook at home. My boyfriend had just listened to a radio program the day before where they mentioned a roasted wild mushroom soup. We both thought that sounded interesting, so we spent a really nice day shopping for food and cooking together. The best birthday a girl could ask for!

We bought a mix of mushrooms, including chanterelle and shiitake.


The recipe calls for roasting the mushrooms instead of sauteeing, like I usually do. We chopped them up with some onions, garlic, rosemary, thyme, and  a little olive oil. In the recipe, it’s only supposed to take about 20 min to roast; we found that everything needed at least 45 min and we even spread all the veggies out into two dishes to aid in roasting.


We didn’t mind the wait though! We were snacking on crackers and Sheese, which is the closest thing to a dairy-based soft cheese dip that I’ve ever had. It’s pretty tasty!


Finally, everything was roasted!


We deglazed the pans with a little sherry, then added some stock and whizzed the whole mix through the food processor. I added a little soy milk powder to make everything a little creamier, and then we had soup! With some garlic bread on the side, of course!


(For the perfect garlic bread, I just buy any type of bread loaf, cut it in half, spread some olive oil over the pieces along with garlic granules, salt, and Italian herb blend. Stick em under the broiler for a few minutes until brown and that’s it! Perfect garlic bread!)

For dessert we had a tasty chocolate torte from Whole Foods. It was a bit denser than I like my cakes, but it had a tasty raspberry glaze that made up for it!



On Sunday I felt good enough to be active again, so we went kayaking in Monterey. We had planned to visit Malabar in Santa Cruz for my restaurant birthday dinner but I wasn’t feeling that fancy so we stopped for shakes and burgers at Saturn Cafe instead. The only thing I remembered to photograph was my shake, vanilla peanut butter. So. Good.

MoFo Giveaway winner!

17 Oct

And the cup cozy giveaway winner is Mandi! Mandi says,

“I’m a tea person. I love exploring all different types of tea, but ginger Pu-erh is one of my favorites. Add a little lemon and I’m perfect. In the evenings I go for peppermint rooibos.”

Thanks for entering, everyone! I got some great drink ideas for this fall. I’ll try to do another giveaway as fast as my knitting needles can work! 🙂

Mandi, I left you a message on your blog. You can email your mailing address to me at hotveganchickpeas at gmail dot com. Thanks!

MoFo #9: Best salad dressing on the planet

11 Oct

It’s true!  Everyone I know who tries this dressing falls in love with it.  My partner will now only eat salad if we have some of this stuff on hand.  I have been known to drink the extra dressing out of my salad bowl.  In fact, the only thing that challenges its place in my heart is the Sanctuary Dressing from Appetite for Reduction.  Am I creating too much hype here?

The recipe comes from a strange little book called The Guilt Free Gourmet.  I first came upon this book when I went vegan in 2003.  I had just gone vegan and didn’t really know what to cook (I had previously been a very dairy-dependent vegetarian).  At that time there were not a lot of vegan books available – I think How it All Vegan had just come out that summer – and I was a super poor college student so I couldn’t afford new books.  I had also just gotten my wisdom teeth removed and in my Vicodin-induced haze surfed eBay for super cheap vegan cookbooks.  I ended up buying Guilt Free Gourmet and The Uncheese Cookbook for $5 each.   I think all of my meals in 2003 came from these two books!

So I guess in part this post is a review of GFG.  Like I said, it’s an odd book with creepy illustrations and a bunch of religiously-influence lifestyle essays in the back.  If you ignore that bit, the recipes are actually quite good!  The authors eschew all processed foods and refined sugar, so you’ll find lots of recipes for DIY condiments, crackers, vegan dairy substitutes, and veggie burgers, along with lots of other wholesome dishes.

I don’t usually copy recipes from books.  I’ve been paying very close attention to the recipe etiquette thread on the PPK!!  Here’s  my logic in transcribing the recipe this time: this book is not very easy to find (it’s pretty expensive on Amazon!), you *can* find copies of this recipe elsewhere online, it’s not that original a recipe, and really, it’s too good not to share.

So here you go:

Tahini Tang Dressing

1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice, or to taste
1 tsp salt
1-2 Tb honey (use agave nectar)
1 tsp garlic powder, or 1 clove fresh
1/2 tsp onion powder

-Blend until very creamy and smooth. Pour into a pint jar, cover, and chill.

I also use this dressing on sandwiches and as a veggie dip.  It will thicken over time, so you may need to add water to thin it out, which will dilute the flavor.

And just for kicks, here’s what I had for dinner tonight! Hm, I wonder what dressing that is….

MoFo #8: vegan option at Chili’s?!

10 Oct


Sorry for the lousy photo…it was really dark!

We received a Chili’s gift card last Christmas and finally finished it off. Sadly, Chili’s has never been very welcoming to vegans. Even their in house black bean burger patty has eggs and most salads are loaded with meat and dairy. Preparing for a night of mediocre salad, I was surprised to find a new item on the menu: veggie tacos!

I got them without the ranch dressing on top and asked for salsa on the side. The veggies inside included roasted mushrooms, squash, bell pepper, onions, and avocado. The tacos also came with black beans and a white rice pilaf. I tasted the pilaf and it was pretty meh and might have had butter. I couldn’t tell but I don’t ever eat the rice that comes with Mexican food so I wasn’t too torn up about it.

At $8.50, cheap for Chili’s, this was a decent dinner. I hope they keep it around and offer more vegan options in the future!

MoFo #7: Vegan Bake Sale

10 Oct

This weekend I helped out at a vegan bake sale we held to raise money for the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals. Three other MoFo-ers, CarrieAmey, and coldandsleepy, also baked and organized. We had an awesome spread and raised over $600 for the cause! W00t!


I busted my butt in the kitchen Thursday and Friday baking into the wee hours of the morning. I had big plans but I didn’t get to make everything I wanted. Here are links to recipes of what I made (you can see pics in the photos below):

Roasted apple, butternut squash, and carmelized onion flatbread from Chef Chloe
Carrot Cake Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
Macadamia Ginger Drop Cookies from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar – I made a gluten free version of these too!
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies – Just sub Ener-G egg replacer for the eggs!
Socca (chick pea flour flatbread) from
Matcha Green Tea Cake Pops

If anyone’s interested, I made my own gluten free flour mix thanks to the wonderful folks on the PPK message board.  The recipe is:
4 cups superfine brown rice flour (Authentic Foods)
1 1/3 cups potato starch
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch

I couldn’t find superfine rice flour so I used regular brown rice flour from a bulk bin at Whole Foods.  Things came out a bit grainy but at least in the ginger cookies they tasted fine.  I had to add about 1.5 cups more flour to make the batter thick, and I had to roll the cookies into balls and cook them less time.

I topped the socca with pesto spread from Vegan with a Vengeance and sliced tomatoes from my garden, or home-made sun-dried tomato hummus.  I tried both thin and thick variants of the bread using either the Sil-Pat (thin) or spring form pan (thick) and thick was definitely the crowd favorite!

Here are some pics from the day!