Appetizers

Vedged Out Turns One, Gets a Sweet Book Deal and More Awesomeness!

Howdy beloved readers! It’s Vedged Out’s One Year Blogiversary today and I’m taking you on a tour through the highlights and lowlights of the year:

chocolate layer cakeInsane Chocolate Layer Cake

It’s been an amazing year! Some highlights included Forks Over Knives featuring my health transformation testimonial and ChooseVeg.com featuring me on their health page.

SomerRunning570x299

Then we’ve had two very. awesome. Virtual Vegan Potlucks.  

macadamia nut brie en crouteSpooky Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute 

um, I’m still dreaming about that one

vegan-blt-slidersMini Jackfruit and Kimchi BLT Slider Bites 

Two words. Jackfruit. Bacon.

The top viewed post on my site this year:pizzaIndividual Vegan Margherita Pizzas with Homemade Fresh Moxarella

people go crazy when homemade vegan cheese is tastier, easier, healthier and cheaper than running to your local Whole Foods for another bag of Daiya.

The least viewed post on my site this year:maple lima beansBaked Maple Dijon Baby Lima Beans

Yeah, can’t blame my readers, doesn’t look like the most appetizing dish, does it? I swear they were good!

The cookie bars that took over Pinterest by storm:cookie barHealthied Up Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

who doesn’t love an easy to put together ooey gooey dessert?

This ALL VEGAN Thanksgiving Menu shared with beloved friends and family, including Annie at An Unrefined Veganvegan thanksgiving

Then we had that low point, with that injury (currently still injured, I’ll have another healing series coming up soon).goodbye-runningGoodbye Running, I still miss you like crazy.

But when one door closes another one opens! And now I’ve also got some awesome news, I’ve signed a book contract with Vegan Heritage Press! I couldn’t be more proud to be working with such an amazing and compassionate publishing house. You’ll have to wait for all the juicy details, but it’s official. I’m an author!

vegan heritage press

The Vegan Heritage Press family all ready includes some Vegan Superstars: the amazing and talented raw vegan chef Amber Shea Crawley, prolific vegan cookbook author and goddess Robin Robertson, recipe developer extraordinaire Bryanna Clark Grogan, vegan baking fool Tamasin Noyes, national recipe competition winner Betsy DiJulio and several new faces that I can’t wait to become acquainted with!

SunWarrior+Blogger+Banner

Oh, and I’ve all ready been a recipe contributor for Sunwarrior for some time, but now I’m joining their expert ambassador team as well! Yeah, just gotta submit that Bio. They’ve truly got the best vegan vitamins and supplements on the planet. Pure love.

Thanks for all the love and support along the way. Can’t wait to see what this next year brings!

good-clean-foodAmanda, Somer (holding Amanda’s juicy baby), Carolyn and Erika

If you want to start at the very beginning, see my very first post on Vedged Out here: 20 Reasons Why Going Vegan Sucks.

Love, Somer

Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce from The Great Vegan Bean Book + Review and Giveaway!

zucchiniTopped with Easy Almond Parm, pg. 27


Kathy Hester is one of my very favorite cookbook authors. She’s saved my vegan bacon on many rushed days with her book: The Vegan Slow Cooker.  Every. Single. Recipe. I’ve tried out of that book has turned out fabulously, so you can imagine I jumped at the chance when she asked me to review her newest cookbook: The Great Vegan Bean Book. I’ll be sharing (with her permission) the recipe for the Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce later in this post, but first feast your eyes on some of the other creations I made from her book.

Artichoke DipLets just say that the dip disappeared before the bag of pita chips was gone. I thought for sure I was going to need to doctor this recipe with some vegan sour cream to fatten it up. Nope. It’s perfectly skinny and delicious just the way it is.

Chickpea SeitanA certain someone in my house likes to occasionally nosh on the Boca Vegan Chik’n patties. Not ever buying those again after making these. I’ve been looking for a “chick’n” patty replacement I could make at home for some time now. I once made another way inferior chickpea patty recipe from a certain plant based author. Those sucked. These ruled.

SandwichThen I combined the above two recipes and made a Crispy Grilled Sandwich Delight on Marbled Rye Bread with the Creamy Spinach Artichoke Dip White Bean Dip, the Baked Crispy Chickpea Seitan Patty and Kimchi. SO good I could have cried.

Coconut Pecan BlondiesOf course I had to try a dessert. These babies were absolutely calling my name.

Bite Sized BlissCoconut Pecan Blondies, pg. 181. I heart you.

Campanelle

Now back to the Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce. Did I mention your kids will eat it, and ask for seconds? Here’s the conversation surrounding that dinner:

Silence while everyone is nomming on the sauce over noodles…

Somer: Did you guys know I put a whole head of kale in this?

Kid #1: I can’t even taste the kale

Husband: My head turned into kale today

Kid #1: All I can taste is vegetable deliciousness

Kid #2 who doesn’t like vegetables: Silence whilst gobbling down all his dinner.

Polenta

Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce

This hearty, protein-rich sauce serves a crowd, or it can be a staple you make every month or so, freezing any leftovers so they will be there for you during those crazy weeks (we ate it all weekend, hence photos of all the ways we used this delicious and nutritious pasta sauce)

  • 1 cup (192 g) lentils (green, brown, or beluga)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled if not organic), each cut into 4 large pieces
  • 1-2 cups (235 to 475 ml) water
  • 2 tablespoons (28 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 can (20 ounces, or 560 g) crushed tomatoes, or 3 cups (750 g) homemade puree plus 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 t. dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon (2 g) dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes or crushed dried chilies (optional)
  • 1 small bunch kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces (about 3 cups [201 g]) (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (87 g) quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine or 2 tablespoons (28 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Cooked pasta, for serving, use GF pasta for a GF meal

Add the lentils, carrots, and water to a large soup pot. Turn the heat to high, cook until the mixture is simmering, and then decrease to low and cover. Cook until the lentils are tender, 20 to 30 minutes.

While the lentils cook, heat the oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes. Then add the bell pepper and garlic and saute for 1 minute more.

Once the carrots and lentils are cooked remove the carrots from the pot of lentils and add them to a food processor or blender along with the tomatoes, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, kale, and sauteed veggies, and puree until smooth.

At the same time, add the quinoa and red wine to the pot of lentils. Turn the heat to medium, cook until it starts to simmer again, and then cover and decrease the heat to low. Cook until the quinoa start to show their white tails.

Add the puree to the lentil-quinoa mixture and cook, covered, over low heat until the sauce melds and heats thoroughly, about 20 minutes.

Eggplant LasagnaKathy’s going to have to forgive me, since her book is so popular, her publisher didn’t have review copies available, so I got the book in a PDF format until a hard copy is available to send out. The PDF copy is stamped with the publisher’s logo on each page and was difficult for me to read cover to cover (the way I always read cookbooks). So, I invented a Grilled Eggplant Lasagna, using the leftovers of Kathy’s amazing Lentil Quinoa Bolognese Sauce, then later read through the PDF to find that Kathy has her own Eggplant Lasagna recipe in the book. Well, the more the merrier I say! I’ll be sharing my version with you later in the week.

hi-res image

Buy “The Great Vegan Bean Book” in paperback book on Amazon here or the Kindle version here

Visit Kathy Hester at her site Healthy Slow Cooking here

Visit “The Great Vegan Bean Book” Blog Tour page here

Visit the photographer’s site for the book, Renee Comet, here

For a chance to win a copy of this amazing cookbook, Click on the link below to enter the Giveaway! This contest is open to entrants in the USA onlyYou must also follow this blog by email or RSS feed to qualify. You have until Monday the 10th of June to enter!  I will notify the winner by email on Wednesday the 12th. GO!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

VVP Edition: Mini Jackfruit and Kimchi BLT Slider Bites

Peppered Maple Jackfruit Bacon

Yeah, I invented a new vegan bacon, especially for the Virtual Vegan Potluck 3.0. It might just be the meatiest and most versatile vegan bacon yet… You’re welcome.

DSC_0015

Since I can’t just serve you bacon, (I mean, I could, but this is supposed to be the appetizer course). I’m sharing my take on some special bite sized BLT’s. For size reference, the plate I’m using in these photos only has a 3 inch diameter.

Collage 2

To assemble these little cuties, you’ll need the following: Mini Caraway, Onion and Rye Pretzel Rolls (recipe follows), Kimchi, store bought or homemade, Peppered Maple Jackfruit Bacon (recipe follows), sliced tiny grape and or sun sugar tomatoes, and Vegan Wasabi Ranch Dressing (1/4 c. vegan ranch dressing + 1 t. wasabi paste, stirred til combined)

Vegan BLT Sliders

Peppered Maple Jackfruit Bacon

  • 1 can young green jackfruit in brine (unsweetened) I bought mine from a local Asian Market
  • 1-2 T. liquid smoke (mine is concentrated, so I only used 1 T.)
  • 1 T. Bragg’s liquid aminos or coconut aminos for those with soy allergies
  • 1 T. extra virgin olive oil or melted unrefined coconut oil
  • 2 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1 t. – 1 T. ground black pepper (depending on how peppery you want your bacon)
  • 1 t. balsamic vinegar
  • 1 t. unsulphered molasses
  • 1/2 t. sea salt (optional)

Method: Rinse and drain the jackfruit. Press lightly onto clean kitchen towels to drain any excess moisture. Slice jackfruit into very thin strips with a filet knife, it’s okay if some of it shreds. Jackfruit is kinda shreddy like that. Press sliced jackfruit on the clean kitchen towels again to remove additional moisture. Place jackfruit slices in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together all the other ingredients to form the marinade. Pour marinade over the sliced jackfruit and gently toss to coat with your hands. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes to let the jackfruit absorb the flavors. Preheat your oven to 425°. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet and arrange the jackfruit slices on it so they don’t overlap. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring a time or two and watching to make sure the jackfruit bacon doesn’t burn and that it gets nice and crispy (a fine line). Remove from oven and spread onto paper towels and let cool a bit before use.

Collage

Mini Caraway, Onion and Rye Pretzel Rolls

  • 1 1/2 C. unbleached organic all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C. dark rye flour
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 C. warm water
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 t. active dry yeast
  • 1 T. caraway seeds
  • 1 T. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. vital wheat gluten
  • 1 T. unsulphered molasses
  • 1 T. dried chopped onion or 1 t. onion powder
  • caraway seeds, sesame seeds and flaked sea salt for sprinkling on the rolls

Method: in a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (including yeast). Add the wet ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon til combined. If mixture seems to dry, add warm water, a tablespoon at a time. knead dough for 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and Let rise for 30 minutes or until doubled. Punch dough down, divide into 32 mini pretzel roll bites or 16 slider sized rolls. Lightly press each piece of dough down with your fingertips. Arrange rolls on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a silpat (otherwise they’ll stick like crazy). Cover and let rise for 20-30 minutes until doubled in size. In the meantime, bring to a boil: 2 quarts (8 cups) water with 1 T. kosher salt and 4 T. baking soda.  When the water comes to a rolling boil, Poach 4 rolls at a time, if doing bite sized, poach for 20-30 seconds, for slider sized 30-40 seconds, turning over halfway through poaching time. See photos of this method hereRemove rolls with a slotted spoon. Slash each roll a couple of times across the top with a sharp knife. Quickly sprinkle with caraway seeds, sesame seeds and flaked sea salt. Repeat until all buns are poached. Let rest while oven preheats to 400 degreesBake for 10-15 minutes for bite sized or 15-20 minutes for slider rolls. Please use parchment paper or a silpat to bake on, otherwise you will need a chisel and a hammer and quite possibly ruin your favorite baking sheet.

Bite

To start at the beginning of the potluck, click here:

vvpIf you run into any broken links along the way, (some bloggers show up a little late to the party) here’s a list of the bloggers in the potluck to help you get back on track. Pretty cool to see over 169 bloggers from all around the world flaunting their vegan awesome! Use the buttons below to Go Back to visit the lovely Bex (Sparkles) at Vegan Sparkles in Australia. Go Forward to see what The Singing Vegan brought to the party.

go_bck-300x257go_forward-300x243

 

Celebrating 100 Posts!

It’s a good day all around, this post marks my 100th post since I started this blog in September 2012. I’m feeling all kinds of love and support! Thanks to all of you. Today I got twitter follows from Forks Over Knives, Dr. McDougall and a Hospital!?! I also got featured on the brand new site, Choose Veg. Feeling happy and blessed. Here’s a look back at 99 posts, in no particular order.

My Foot is a Desert, my brother Abe McCowan’s final MFA Thesis Exhibit + Vedged Out Catering Menu and Recipes

All photos in this post courtesy of Chelle McCall

Menu for the Show

For all the recipes for the show, please click here

Salads:

  • Curried Brown Rice Salad with celery, cranberries, green onion and cashews
  • Ultimate French Green Lentil Salad with radishes, red onion and capers
Appetizers: 
  • Stacy’s Pita Chips and Homemade Hummus
  • Organic Corn Tortilla Chips and homemade Fire Roasted Salsa
Vegan Cheese & Cracker Platter:
  • Pepperjack Cashew Cheese & Wheat Thins/Gluten Free Cracker option
  • Macadamia Nut Brie
Snack Cups:
  • Filled with Sesame Sticks, Coconut Shreds, mini vegan chocolate chips, tamari pepitas, pistachios, golden raisins, wasabi peas and amazing corn snack
Vegetable Tray:
  • Assorted Olives, Cucumber, Grape Tomatoes, Broccoli, Celery Sticks, Baby Carrots, with Cashew Vegan Ranch Dressing
Fruit Tray:
  • Strawberries, Watermelon, Grapes, Pineapples, Blueberries, Kiwi & Pears
Desserts: 
  • Gluten Free  & Regular Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
  • Gluten Free & Regular Vegan Lemon Bars
Beverages:
  • Iced Water
  • Homemade Ginger Ale Lemonade

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint and a Virtual Vegan Potluck Crash Course

Close upFrosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

I’m bringing you a throwback recipe today, the one I created for the very first (and epic) Virtual Vegan Potluck. Unfortunately, even though I pre-scheduled my post to go live with everyone else’s, I showed up more than 8 hours late to the party because the time clock on the blog was wrong. Oops.

I’m sure my friend Annie (mastermind behind the VVP) was pulling her hair out over the lateness of mine and several other posts, but somehow she forgave me and invited me to help her run the event that is now cool enough to have appeared at #28 on the PPK top 100 for 2012 list.

Lemon, strawberries and mintLemon, Strawberries and Mint

For you bloggers who haven’t signed up for the Virtual Vegan Potluck yet, I encourage you to do so. Having over 100 bloggers from all around the world contribute courses from beverages to desserts makes for an incredibly cool event. What if you’re not a VEGAN? Doesn’t matter, all that matters is that the dish you “bring” is 100% vegan. Besides, there are tons of cool giveaway prizes for participants this round!

So here’s a quick crash course: 

1- Sign UP (sign ups for the May 11th 2013 potluck closes on May 6th)

2- Get your 100% vegan post ready to go

3- You’ll get an email letting you know where you are in the lineup (i.e., what bloggers comes before and after you do in the potluck)

4- You’ll link to those bloggers before and after you in your post (don’t worry, we’ll let you know how and even give you some cool buttons)

4- You’ll pre-schedule your post to go live at the same time as everyone else’s

5- You’ll feel like a rockstar for participating

Easy as Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie….

For those that want more detailed info about how it works, click here.

In the blender

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

  • 3 C. fresh or frozen strawberries
  • juice and zest from one lemon, I peel the zest in a long thin strip with a vegetable peeler
  • 5-6 mint leaves
  • 1-2 packets truvia (stevia), or other natural sweetener to taste, depending on how sweet your strawberries are
  • 1 C. water (2 C. if using frozen strawberries)
  • 2 C. ice (omit if using frozen strawberries)

Method: Blend til smooth.

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

Wanna see what I brought last round? Head on over to Virtual Vegan Potluck Blog to see my winning appetizer post featured there. Anyone have any ideas of how I can top it this year? Ideas, pretty please?

macadmia-nut-brie-en-crouteMy November 2012 VVP contribution,

The Macadamia Nut Brie En Croute

 

Healthy Vegan Cheez-It Crackers

Tower O Cheez itVegan Cheez-It Baby

All right, so this is really more like a Cheez-It/Wheat Thins Hybrid if you make the healthy version, but the indulgent version is a little closer to the original, without being scarily florescent. Our family was actually more partial to Goldfish Crackers, but the Cheez-It shape is a little easier to mimic then the snack that smiles back.

cashew butterThe superstars: Red Bell Pepper, Lemon Zest and Creamy Homemade Cashew Butter. Flavor Profile Inspired by Shira’s Incredible Red Pepper Cheese Sauce at In Pursuit of More.

Vegan Cheez-It Crackers

  • 1 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (GF peeps can use an equal amount of GF flour + 1 T. ground flax to replace regular flour)
  • 1/4 C. cashew butter, OR 2 T. cashew butter + 2 T. grapeseed oil for a flakier cracker (I went with all cashew butter)
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 4 T. nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 -1 t. sea salt (saltier is more realistic)
  • 1/2  t. lemon zest
  • 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1/2 t. mustard powder
  • 1 t. onion powder
  • smidge cayenne
  • 1/4 t. liquid smoke
  • 1/4 t. paprika
  • plant milk of choice, as needed

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degreesIn a food processor or power blender, combine cashew butter, bell pepper and all the seasonings until the mixture is completely smooth. Add the flour and mix til just combined, you don’t want to overwork the dough. The dough should be slightly wet and sticky. If it seems too dry, add plant milk a teaspoon at a time until dough is moist. I didn’t need to add any the first time I made these, but I needed a bit the second time. Roll dough out between 2 pieces of parchment paper (otherwise it’ll stick to the rolling pin and you’ll have to add more flour, we don’t want that…) or two silpat silicone baking liners. The crackers should be VERY thin. Thin enough to cover the whole full sized silpat and fit on a large baking sheet. Score the crackers into little squares with a pizza wheel, knife or a cute crinkle cutter like mine if you have one. Poke a little dent in the center of each cracker with a chopstick (this is just for decoration, do it however you like). Sprinkle the crackers with additional sea salt. Bake crackers for around 10 minutes, watch them closely, because the edge pieces can burn easily. Remove crackers from the oven and then remove them from your parchment paper or silpat and put the crackers back on the baking tray without the parchment paper to crisp them up a bit. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until crackers are golden and firm. Watch them carefully! Let cool and enjoy!

Cheez-itTower O’ Cheez-It

PulseSecret Ingredients

CutTools of the trade: Crinkle Cutters and Chopsticks

Close upDid you miss cheese crackers when you went vegan?