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One sexy Vegan MoFo!

Hi guys! I’m very excited to announce that for the month of November I’ll be participating in Vegan MoFo!

What’s a Vegan MoFo, you may ask? It stands for Vegan Month of Food! If you thought it meant something else, go put a dollar in your swear jar and come back to me.

Everyone with me now? Ok!

For this month I, along with hundreds of others, will be trying to create and document as many vegan recipes as possible to help get the word out about healthy and satisfying vegan food, and we need your help! If you see a post you like, feel free to use any means you can to pass it on to others. Retweet my tweets, “like” a post with StumbleUpon, email it to a friend, anything you want.  And if you want to check out lots of other Vegan MoFo bloggers, just take a peek at the extensive blogroll for this years’ event. I’ll be doing my part to tweet every recipe, and if I get good enough pictures, I’ll submit my recipes to sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker.

“But Alayna, you’re not even vegan!”

You are correct.  I do, however, consume a lot of vegan food and love it!

Remember this beauty? I eat vegan breakfasts every day!

My diet is still evolving, and veganism is an ideal that I’m striving to get closer to as time goes by. I will probably never be 100% vegan, but I’d like my consumption of non-vegan foods to dwindle lower and lower to an almost negligible amount. I’m making positive changes in the way I eat every day!

I’m hoping that with this challenge I can eat a more-vegan diet for a month and show myself that it wasn’t that big of a change.  I’m also hoping to show people who may have never thought of a vegan diet as something they could incorporate into their own lives, that vegan food is no weirder than a fruit salad or roasted vegetables.

Ok! Enough chatter, on with the delicious vegan food!

EDIT: I changed the picture of the sauteed apple oatmeal to the berries and oats above because I realized the previous item had honey in it.  Oops!  This stuff matters!


I like vegan cheese?!?!

In an effort to cut out a bit more dairy from my diet, I decided to try out a product that I’ve heard about all over the blog world:  Daiya, which is a vegan cheese substitute.

I gotta tell ya, the words “cheese substitute” make my spine tingle.  Nevertheless, I gave the mozzarella style a go in one of my favorite preparations, the grilled cheese sammich.

The grilled cheese has become my go-to dinner for nights that I either don’t have anything planned to make, or just can’t make myself cook anything.  It’s a versatile dinner as you can add any number of vegetables and/or condiments and make a unique and tasty sandwich tailored to your cravings for that evening.  Paired with a salad or soup, and it’s no less impressive than something you spent an hour cooking.

I tried my first vegan grilled “cheese” with just a smear of apple butter, one of my favorite simple combinations.

I was a little put off by the smell of the “cheese” in it’s packaging.  It was kind of salty and acidic; reminded me of parmesan but not in a good way, kind of like a half-melted and wet hunk of parmesan.

It was a little unpleasant to the touch; a bit wet, slightly oily.  The strands separated from each other better than real cheese though, which made it easy to sprinkle on the sandwich evenly.

I prepared the sandwich in my usual manner; non-stick olive oil spray in the pan, press the sandwiches while cooking with a heavier pan weighting them down, flip once and done.

The Daiya passed the first test in that it melted well and held the bread together as well as regular cheese.

The real test is taste though, right?

I gotta say, I was astounded at how good this is.  If I was served that sandwich and no one told me the cheese was vegan, I wouldn’t have thought anything was different about it. It is a little creamier than regular cheese, but not Velveeta creamy, so it doesn’t come off as one of those oily processed cheese products. And the ingredient list doesn’t have a single thing on it that I’ve never heard of or should be wary of.

I am thrilled that I can use this product to replace some of the dairy in my diet without sacrificing any of the pleasure in my beloved grilled cheese. I never intend to eliminate dairy entirely, but I want to treat it as more of a junk food and really save it as something to eat only at restaurants or on special occasions.

What is your relationship with dairy these days?


Gena’s Carrot Miso Dressing

One of my favorite blogs to read is Gena’s Choosing Raw.

Even though I don’t follow a raw foods diet, her blog has shown me that there are many ways I could be incorporating more raw food, and the plethora of yummy recipes she’s created have helped me to do just that.

One recipe I make constantly is her carrot miso dressing.  I can remember the first time I made it I was looking at the raw carrot chunks in my half-made dressing and thought “well, it’ll probably be good for health food, but not really good.” I was so wrong.

There were so many “mmmms!” let out during that first salad. I couldn’t believe I was enjoying a salad that I made that much, as I’d never been able to recreate the awesomeness of a restaurant salad at home before.

I tried to use up the left-over bottles of pre-made salad dressing in my fridge, but after a month I gave up and threw them out.

The best part is that it’s really simple to make.  I followed her recipe exactly the first time, but now I substitute the soy sauce for a heaping tablespoon of tahini. The miso I use is already so salty that adding soy sauce was too much, and the tahini makes the dressing slightly creamy.

It’s as easy as throwing everything in the food processor…

Blitzing it up thoroughly…

And either storing…

Or using right away…

Mmmmm….. That’s a baked sweet potato covered in garlic powder, salt, and honey. Sounds weird, but it’s an awesome combination. Paired with a small salad topped with the carrot miso dressing, it was a delicious ode to orange!