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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Vegan "Bailey's" Irish Cream Liqueur

Happy Holidays!!!
December is my favorite month.  I love everything about it: the sparkle, the celebrations, the time spent with friends and loved ones. . .  hence why this blog entry is loonnnggg overdue - it's been a busy month!  
I usually spend the week from Christmas Eve to New Years day overindulging on anything and everything I can sink my teeth into or fill my glass with and when it comes to holiday beverages, I like 'em sweet, creamy and booooozy.  Put 'em all together and you've got IRISH CREAM LIQUEUR!!!  Store-bought Irish cream is full of very non-vegan cream (obvs!) and other wacky preservatives and can be quite pricey.  My recipe (adapted from the amazing Tal Ronnen's recipe for Irish cream sauce) is very simple and YUMMY and you can make a 40oz bottle for under $30!  On ice, in your morning coffee or soaked into vegan chocolate cupcakes, it's a delish and festive treat!

I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season, filled with peace, love and joy <3

Vegan Irish Cream Liqueur
-4 tsp cornstarch
-2 cans coconut milk (don't bother with the light stuff, stick to regular)
-1 cup chocolate almond milk
-1/2 cup organic brown sugar
-1 tsp vanilla extract (always use real vanilla extract, artificial is ICKY)
-pinch sea salt
-1 mickey of whiskey

In a wee bowl, combine the cornstarch with 4 tsp of the coconut milk.  Whisk it well to ensure it is smooooth (this is called a 'slurry' and it is a crucial step when adding starch to liquid to avoid lumps!). 

In a large saucepan, combine the rest of the coconut milk, almond milk, sugar, vanilla and pinch of salt and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  

Once boiling, add the slurry of cornstarch and whisk like you have never whisked before.  Simmer for a minute or two then remove from the heat and let it cool right down.

Once cooled, you can strain the sweet liquid through a fine mesh strainer if you are concerned about lumpiness.  Add the whiskey, whisk, et voila!  You have Irish cream liqueur!  My testers said it might need a touch more booze, but I will leave that to your discretion.

All the best in the New Year!



Monday, November 28, 2011

Vegan 'Coq' au Vin

Hey Mondays!

The cold weather has begun to set in and so have V.V.'s cravings for warm, comforting soups and stews.  My StepMama makes an incredible traditional French chicken and wine stew called Coq au Vin that is swimming with earthy mushrooms, caramelized onions, herbaceous thyme, pungent garlic and rich, robust, red, red wine!  According to Mrs. Julia Child, the French eat this stew with boiled, buttered,  parsley sprinkled potatoes but I prefer this mouth-watering stew served ladled over roasted garlic mashed potatoes! 

The chicken substitute I recommend for this dish is a soy-based simulated 'chick'n' called Gardein (they make so many absolutely AMAZING plant-based meat substitutes, great for new vegetarians or transitioning omnivores who are craving an insanely meaty taste and texture).  Superstore Blue Menu makes PC brand meatless chick'n breasts that are made with Gardein and I think Yves makes a meatless chick'n strip product as well.  I have made this dish with cubed seitan as well and it turned out delish.  You could also use good ol' firm tofu! 

A tip about cooking with wine: ALWAYS cook with a wine you would enjoy drinking!!  Maybe not the most expensive bottle, but you can easily find a nice bottle for under twelve bucks that will make allllll the difference in your cooking (I put wine in everything) annnnd you can enjoy a glass or two while you slave away in the kitchen ;)

Vegan 'Coq' au Vin
serves 4ish
for braised pearl onions:
-20ish pearl onions
-1 tbsp Earth Balance butter
-1 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup veggie stock
for the stew:
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 tbsp Earth Balance butter
-3 cups mixed sliced mushrooms (I used crimini and shitake.  Shitake is UNREAL in the flavour dept)
-8 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-4 simulated chick'n fillets, chopped into bite sized pieces, or 1 pkg of strips, or 4 cups of cubed seitan, or 1 brick of cubed firm tofu
-2 tbsp all purpose flour
-2 cups veggie stock
-2 cups dry red wine (try a pinor noir or burgundy)
-1 tbsp tomato paste
-a handful of fresh thyme sprig
-a handful of fresh parsley, very roughly chopped

First, we braise the pearl onions.  Drop the onions in a pot of boiling water for two minutes and then transfer them immediately into a bowl of ice water.  This will make their skins nice and loosey-goosey.  This is your cue to remove the skins!  Be careful to keep the onions whole.

Heat the 1 tbsp Earth Balance and 1 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions to the pan and begin to brown gently, shaking the pan to ensure they brown evenly.  Once the onions have begin to show some beautiful brown colour, sprinkle with salt and peppa and add 1 cup of veggie stock.  Cover the pan with a lid and simmer the onions for about 15 minutes, or until the onions are quite soft.  Remove the lid and cook the onions further until they have absorbed most of the liquid.  Set assssssiiide.

Now for the stew!

Melt the remaining Earth Balance and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the chopped mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms have significantly reduced in size.  Add the "chick'n" and cook until it has browned.  Sprinkle the mushrooms and "chick'n" with the flour and add the veggie stock, red wine, tomato paste, thyme sprigs and parsley.  Stir well to ensure the sauce isn't lumpy. 

Add the braised onions and bring the stew to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced to a rich, thick gravy.

Season with S&P and remove the thyme sprigs.

Serve with mashed potatoes or polenta.

Stay warm, inside and out!



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vegan BLT

My Lovely V.V. readers,

First off:  According to my 'stats' here on Blogger, I have reached over 7000 hits from wonderful vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores from every continent on our beautiful planet!  When I started writing my One Vivacious Vegan blog a year ago, I didn't think I would even have 100 people checking out my little place in the blog universe so I just wanted to extend a big, big, BIG THANK-YOU for hittin' me up and for your enthusiasm in cooking and eating for a healthier planet and a healthier YOU!

Now onto the food stuff!

I have never actually had a real BLT.  Ever.  I've always been more of a grilled cheese kinda gal.  But after concocting a vegan version of the classic 'bacon/lettuce/tomato' combo, I am HOOKED!  It is also easy, easy, easy and quick, quick, quick!

Vegan BLT
-Two slices of your favorite bread (I used whole-grain French bread for the one in the pic)
-Vegan mayo (the amount is totally at your discretion, some like a thin layer, just enough to lube the bread, some like it oozy and saucy. . .oh baby. . .)
-Three slices of the best looking tomato you can find
-Two leaves of lettuce (Butterhead/Boston lettuce is by far the best but it can be pricey, so use whatever you have available.  Romaine is crunchier, red leaf is more delicate in flavour, you could get fancy with baby spinach or arugula, but whatever you do - DO NOT USE ICEBERG LETTUCE.  Iceberg lettuce seriously lacks in flavour and nutrients and should only ever be eaten sliced into wedges and topped with a creamy dressing.  Please never use iceberg lettuce in salads either.  And that concludes my lettuce rant.)
-1 tbsp veg oil
-Three or four slices of tempeh bacon (or five or six, greedy guts!)

Toast the bread to the desired level of toastiness.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Cook the tempeh bacon until it is crisp and brown on both sides (about 2 min per side). 

Spread your desired amount of mayo on one side of each slice of the toasty bread.

Layer the tempeh bacon, lettuce and tomato slices on one slice of the bread and top with the other slice. 


. . .What?  Too old school for ya?  Well, if you must mess with a classic, try adding/swapping:
-fancy greens instead of lettuce
-flavoured vegan mayo
-sliced avocado (this would make it a B.A.L.T. . . . or a T.A.L.B. . . .whatever)
-fried tofu strips (and now it's a B.L.T.T. or a T.B.L.T. or a B.T.L.T. or a . . .whatever)
-sliced jalapenos or banana peppers
-melted vegan cheeze


Vivacious Vegan

Monday, November 14, 2011

Vegan Nachos/New Daiya Flavour!

Hey Babes!

A few weeks ago, whilst raiding Vita Health for snacks, I came across a BRAND NEW DAIYA FLAVOUR!!!  Daiya (one of my fave non-dairy cheese replacements) has added 'pepperjack style shreds' to their roster, which already includes mozza and cheddar style shreds.  To celebrate, ATM and I made some Halloween themed nachos with blue corn tortilla chips and the spicy, orangey, melty, delish pepperjack 'cheeze' :)

As a rule, V.V. tries not to consume too many processed soy products, but hey, sometimes a girl's just gotta have a little JUNK!!!

Vegan Nachos
-1 bag of your fave tortilla chips (my faaaaave ever are 'La Cocina' brand tortilla chips, made right here in Manitoba <3 )
-1 pkg Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds (or any vegan shredded 'cheeze' product)
-vegan sour cream (Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream is scaaaarrryyy good)
-your fave salsa (I buy the fresh stuff from the produce section at the grocery store - so much better than jarred)
-Extraaaaas if you so desire: diced tomatoes, diced green and red bell pepper, sliced black olives, sliced jalapenos, veggie ground round, meatless 'chick'n' strips, diced red onion, chopped green onion, cilantro, corn niblets, black beans, etc etc etc. . .

Nachos are simple and something one MUST know how to make (because who in their right mind doesn't LOVE nachos?!?!?!?). 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Layer the chips and 'cheeze' on a baking sheet as follows: chips, cheeze, chips, cheeze, chips, cheeze, more cheeze. 

If you are using extra toppings (the one pictured is straight up cheeze and chips - ATM and I were too lazy to chop), layer them on top of every cheeze layer, adding extra toppings to the top.

Bake the nachos for about 5 - 10 minutes, or until the cheeze is melty and you can't wait any longer.

Serve with non-dairy sour cream and salsa, maybe some guacamole too!

Don't feel guilty if you eat the whole thing yourself, it was inevitable.

Vivacious Vegan

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Homemade Alphagetti


My four siblings and I (plus our respective significant others) recently had another one of our bi-monthly-ish themed potluck dinners.  Our chosen theme was 'comfort food' and so rather than make yet another failed attempt at vegan mac-and-cheeze (does anyone know of a recipe that isn't absolutely disgusting?!  Send it my way PLLEEAAASSEE!!) I decided to make a homemade version of a childhood favorite: ALPHAGETTI!  You know, the canned alphabet shaped noodles in tomato sauce!  I think it might be a Canadian thing. . .  Alphagetti itself is actually vegan, but as I get older, I get more and more creeped out by things in cans (I don't know why) and homemade is always better anyways.  I also figured it was a good way to get ATM to stop hounding me about making her something with the alphabet shaped pasta she had brought home.  The girl sure loves her adorably shaped noodles. . .

Do I need to state the obvious and mentions that kids LOVE this stuff?  And ATM too :)

Homemade Alphagetti
-1 box alphabet shaped noodles (you can use whole-wheat or regular, and whatever baby soup pasta shape you like, little stars would be cuuuuute!)
-1 jar of tomato pasta sauce (Any brand as long as it's smooth and plain, NO CHUNKS, I used Ragu Traditional Old World Style Sauce)
-1 tsp organic sugar
-1 tsp basil (I use freeze dried basil and if you do too, up it to 1 tbsp)

Cook the alphabet pasta according to the packing instructions (you know the drill, boil water, cook pasta until tender, drain).  In a large pot, mix together the tomato sauce plus 2 jars worth of water.  Add the basil and sugar and the cooked pasta.  Bring to a boil over medium heat and reduce to a low simmer.  Let it simmer and the noodles suck up the sauce for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  Season with S&P.  Sooo gooooooooood. . .


Friday, October 21, 2011

Sexy Vegan Grilled "Cheese"

Happy Friday!!

Fred Penner once said, "Sandwiches are beautiful, sandwiches are fine."  Well said, Fred.  Beautiful and fine they are, but I find the grilled cheese variety downright sexy.  A buttery, crisp exterior and warm, gooey, melty, cheesy interior that just begs to be dipped in tomato soup or ranch dip is so seductively sinful.  And as if they aren't sexy enough, they take on a whole new level of sexiness when they are veganized!  Heavy on the compassion and cruelty free. . .ohhh baby. . .break me off a piece of that. . .

The grilled cheese is also one of the most rediculously easy sandwiches to master.  Once you have the basic technique down (butter, fill with cheese, fry, flip, fry, eat) you can take the sammy to a whole other level by adding your favorite spreads, veggies, herbs, vegan deli slices, WHATEVER! 

Sexy Vegan Grilled Cheese
-Two slices of your fave bread (white, multi-grain, rye, sourdough, pumpernickle, french, whatev!)
-Earth Balance vegan butter
-Vegan cheese, any flavour (I like the Daiya cheddar and mozza varieties)
That's all for a very basic grilled cheese.  Sexy?  Yes.  But to amp up the sex appeal, try adding:
-Vegan mayo
-Peach or mango chutney
-Spinach or arugula
-Sliced avocado
-Sliced tomato
-Grilled zucchini or eggplant
-Sauteed mushrooms
-Caramelized onions
-Chopped basil, cilantro or parsley
-Tempeh or tofu bacon
-Vegan deli 'ham' or 'turkey' slices


Insert Al Green's Greatest Hits into CD player (or download from iTunes).  If anyone will get you in the mood for sexiness, it's Mr. Al Green.

Heat a pan over medium heat.  Spread Earth Balance one side of both pieces of bread.  On the naked side of the bread, smear on any sauces, if using (V.V. used mayo and homemade peach chutney for the sandwich pictured above). 

Top one slice of the bread with grated or sliced vegan cheese.  Add any additional toppings on top of the cheese (V.V. used baby spinach) and top with additional cheese.  Squish the second slice of bread atop the cheesey slice, butter side up. 

Place the sandwich in the hot pan and fry until side A is golden brown.  Squish down the sandwich with a spatula and flip it to the B side.  Fry til golden.  

". . .Let's. . .let's stay together.  Lovin' you whether. . .whether times are good or bad, happy or sad. . ." - Al Green

Mmmmmm. . .yeah baby.  Grilled cheese. . .just the way I like it ;)



Monday, October 17, 2011

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce

Hey Babes!

I may have already mentioned that I am a pasta FREAK.  I could eat it all day, everyday and I am always finding new ways to top my oodles of noodles.  This is my new favorite pasta sauce.  It is super duper simple to make and it is so delish I actually jumped up and down when fork met mouth.  All you have to do is roast a few heads of garlic and puree them with some olive oil, S&P and a squeeze of fresh lemon and you have a rich, luxurious sauce that will WOW the tastebuddies.  You can use any shape of pasta - I used capelli d'angelo this time, but next time I would choose penne rigate instead.  You can garnish this pasta with whatever you like.  I used julienned roasted bell peppers for this round but you could add steamed broccoli, chopped oilves, roasted eggplant, sundried tomatoes, wild mushrooms, hemp hearts, crushed dried chilies, maybe a teeny splash of white wine, your fave herbs, what ever you like!  Make it your own!

Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce
-6 large whole heads of garlic
-1 cup of olive oil (plus a drizzle or two extra)
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
-the juice of one lemon

Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.  Place the heads of garlic into a pan (pie plates or cake pans are perf) and drizzle with a few tbsp of olive oil.  Toss them to coat.  Roast in the oven for 50 - 60 min or until the heads are lightly golden brown and they squeeze easily with a pair of kitchen tongs.  Let the toasty bulbs coooool right down.

Slice the heads in half (morbid?) crosswise, between the top and root end, with a serrated knife and squeeze out the soft, buttery cloves into a blender. 

Puree the garlic on low speed in the blender and sloowwwwllly drizzle in the cup of olive oil until you have a nice, creamy-dreamy sauce.  Add the nutritional yeast and lemon juice and blend again. 

Taste the sauce and season with S&P.  Pour over your favorite pasta and toss gently.  Add what ever garnishes your little heart desires (or none at all) and NOSH!


The Vivacious Vegan

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan Thanksgiving Feast!

Hey Pals,

Thanksgiving Day is upon us in Canada, one of my aboslute favorite holidays.  Sharing a festive meal with family and friends and enjoying the beauty of autumn can be hard for vegans when the star of the show is a big dead bird.  Making your own tofurkey complete with stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy is very simple and sooooo very tasty!  Surround the tofurkey with a host of yummmmy yegan side dishes: mashed potatoes with veggie stock and Earth Blance butter, roasted yams with a sprinkle of cinnamon, green beans or brussel sprouts with toasted almonds and lemon zest, carrots with agave orange glaze. . .skies the limit!  My Nana used to make boiled, mashed turnips for Thanksgiving. . .ick.

Roasted Tofurkey, Mushroom Sage Stuffing and Gravy 
-2 bricks of extra firm tofu
-1/4 cup soy sauce + 1/3 cup for basting liquid
-1/4 cup nutritional yeast
-1 tbsp garlic powder
-1 tbsp poultry seasoning
-fresh ground pepper
-2 tbsp sesame oil
-1/4 cup Earth Balance Butter
-4 shallots (or one small onion and 3 cloves of garlic) diced
-2 stalks of  celery, finely diced
-2 cups of wild mushrooms, diced
-6 cups dried bread cubes (available in the bakery of your friendly neighborhhod grocery store)
-2 tbsp finely chopped sage leaves
-approx 2 cups of veggie stock
-1/2 cup veg oil
-3 cloves of garlic, minced
-1/2 cup all pourpose flour
-1 tsp poultry seasoning
-1 cup dry white wine
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-2 cups veggie stock

STEP 1 - Tofurkey Phase A:  Place two paper towels on a plate.  Place the blocks of tofu on the paper towel.  Place another paper towel over the tofu.  Top with a plate and place heavy cans and other objects on the tofu.  Leave for 1 hour so all the extra water drains out.

STEP 2:  While the tofu is being pressed, prepare the stuffing!  Heat the Earth Balance butter in a pan over medium heat.  Saute the shallots, celery and mushrooms with a sprinkle of S&P until the shallots are translucent, the celery is soft and the mushrooms are well cooked.  

Transfer the veg from the pan to a large mixing bowl and toss with the bread cubes and sage.  Add the veggie stock and mix.  You want the bread cubes to be very moist and the stuffing should be pretty sticky, so add more veggie stock as needed.  Season with S&P and set aside.

STEP 3 - Tofurkey Phase B:  Place the tofu, 1/4 cup soy sauce, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, poultry seasoning and pepper in a food processor and pulse until it becomes a smooth paste.  Alternatively, you can use your hands or a potato masher for this job! 

Line a colander with cheese cloth or a paper towel and place it over a plate or bowl.  Put the tofu mixture into the lined colander and press it down so it's nicely packed in there and the top is flat.  Place a small plate on the top and a heavy can or two on the plate and let sit in the fridge for two hours. 

STEP 4 - Tofurkey Phase C:  Remove the cans and plate from the tofu.  With a spoon, caaaareeeefully scoop out the inner part of the tofu, as if you're making a bowl out of it, leaving a 1" border.  Set the scooped tofu aside.  Fill the cavity with stuffing just to the rim of the tofu bowl.  Cover the stuffing with the reserved tofu, sealing the tofurkey and making the top nice and flat. 

Oil a baking sheet well with veg oil and place on top of the colander.  In a quick, fluid motion, flip the colander onto the baking sheet and release the tofurkey dome.  Remove the cheesecloth/paper towel from the tofurkey dome. 

STEP 5 - Tofurkey Phase D: Mix together the remaining soy sauce and sesame oil and baste the tofukey with it.  Cover the Tofurkey with foil and place in a pre-heated 400 degree oven.  Roast the tofurkey for 25 minutes, remove the foil, baste again and bake for an additional 25 minutes or until the tofurkey is golden brown.  Baste again before serving. 

STEP 6:  GRAVY!!!  While the tofurkey is roasting, heat the veg oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add the garlic and saute until translucent.  Add the flour and poultry seasoning and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. 

Add the wine, soy sauce and veggie stock and whisk to combine (no one wants lumpy gravy!).  Bring the gravy to a boil and cook until thickened.  Add more stock if tooooo thick.  Season with S&P.

To serve:  Slice the tofurkey into wedges and serve alongside mashed potatoes, your fave veg side dishes and a sea of vegan gravy!



Vivacious Vegan

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tofu Scramble!

. . .from a looonnngggg and busy week.
Helllooo my dears!

I used to scoff at scrambled tofu.  How could it even be the least bit tasty?  It should be said that I used to eat scrambled eggs almost every day, loaded with cheddar cheese, tomatoes and dill and cooked to perfection in lots of butter. . .   The idea that plain, crumbled tofu fried up with some veggies could make a comparable, let alone tasty, breakfast choice seemed outrageous. 

BUT I finally took the plunge.  Used up half a block of firm tofu that had been awaiting it's fate for almost a week and was SO impressed at how num num NUMMY scrambled tofu really is!

Served up with a pile of homemade hasbrowns, tempeh or tofu bacon and a bowlful of blueberries, I am sittin' pretty today, my friends!  Happy Sunday <3

Tofu Scramble
-2 tbsp veg oil
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 block firm tofu
-2 cups (or more) of your favorite veggies (I used sliced mushrooms, broccoli and diced tomatoes)
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
-2 tbsp soy sauce

Heat the oil in a pan over medium high-ish heat.

Crumble the tofu up and add to the hot pan.  Brown the tofu a little bit and then add the garlic and veggies.  If you're using soft veg like tomatoes, wait to add them until a little later in the game, if you over cook them they will turn into mush. . .unless that's what you're into. . .Saute until the veg are nice and tennnder.

Sprinkle over the nutritional yeast and soy sauce and cook until they are absorbed by the tofu and veg.  Season with a teeny bit of S and a lot of fresh ground P. 


Add what ever kind of herbs, spices, veggies, vegan cheeses, vegan sausage or diced vegan ham, hawt sauce, cooked beans, whaaaaaat evvaaaaaaaaaaaaa MUAH!



Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sweet Potato Lentil Curry

Hey Dolls,

October has arrived and with it, the notion that cold weather is in our midst.  While I do find it sad that Summer has passed, cold weather = yummy cold weather comfort food.  One thing I find extremely comforting to eat is a big bowl of CURRY!  Warm, spicy and flavorful yumminess is just the thing I need on a chilly fall evening (and maybe a big mug of chai tea with vanilla soymilk, too!). 
Curries are super easy to make and you can put just about anything in them.  There are a gazillion different curry spice blends out there, but for this recipe I am just going to utilize simple, medium yellow curry powder.  We'll get to the green, red, tandoori, garam masala, phanaeng, and madras varieties another time :)  I find curry tastes even better the next day and it freezes beautifully, so make lots!

Sweet Potato Lentil Curry
-2 tbsp veg oil
-1 large onion, diced
-1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
-3 stalks of celery, chopped
-6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
-1/2 a large head of cauliflower, chopped into bite sized florets
-1 tsp ground cinnmon
-1 - 2 tbsp curry powder (depending on how strong you like it)
-2 tomatoes, diced
-1 cup brown lentils

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high-ish heat.  Add the onion, sweet potato, celery, garlic and cauliflower to the pot and sprinkle with cinnamon and curry powder and a bit of S&P. 

Cover with a lid and cook for about ten minutes, stirring often. 

 Add the tomatoes and lentils and cover with approx three cups of water, juuuuuust enough to barely cover the veg.

Bring the curry to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium.  Let the curry simmer until the lentils and sweet potatoes are very soft.  I like to reduce the heat to medium low once the lentils are just cooked, and then simmer the curry for an hour so the flavours become bff's.

Serve over brown basmati rice.  Maybe with some peach chutney or sliced banana or toasted almonds as a garnish :)



Friday, September 16, 2011


Happy Friday!!!

I had the day off work today and chose to spend it sitting around watching documentary films (Generation Rx was outstanding and a must must MUST see, especially for parents) and eating snacks on my couch.  In particular, a halo of raw veggies and baked potato chips encircling a bowl of AMAZING VEGAN RANCH DIP!!!!!!!!!

This is good stuff, people.  Real good stuff.  And I whipped it up in under five minutes.  It's not exactly the mayonaisey goop you get in a bottle, it's more like homemade buttermilk-style ranch with lots of dill MMMMMM!!!!  It would be great drizzled on wedges of iceberg lettuce or for dipping pizza crust in or eating with a spoon. . . :)

Vegan Buttermilk-Style Ranch Dip and Dressing
- 1 pkg soft/silken tofu
- 4 green onions, chopped
- 1 large clove of garlic (or two small), chopped
- 2 tbsp cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh or dried dill
- S&P

Put all ingredients into a blender.  Blend until smooth.  Season with S&P.  DONE!  BAM!  JUST LIKE THAT!  You can eat it now if you like buuuuuut it will be so much yummier if you let it hang out in the fridge for an hour or two. 

Happy weekend and happy snacking!

Vivacious Vegan

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomato Basil Soup with Rainbow Rotini

Hey Babes,

Typical Winnipeg - two days ago it was humid and and sweltering hot and today the wind is howling and the temperature barely makes it into the mid teens.

It's time for V.V. to post     yet    another  soup recipe!

Tomato soup is the easiest thing to make. EVER.

When ATM was home a couple  weeks ago, she found herself a touch under the weather (too many 'welcome home' cocktails the night before, perhaps?) and requested a bowl of tomato soup.  This is what I whipped up - I think it's my new favorite hangover cure ;)

Tomato Basil Soup with Rainbow Rotini
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 - 8 cloves garlic, chopped
- pinch chili flakes
- 1 can whole tomatoes
- 2 tomato cans worth of water OR veggie stock
- S&P
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
- 2 cups of cooked rainbow rotini
For garlic crostini garnish:
- sliced ciabatta bread
- olive oil
- 1 garlic clove sliced in half
 - S&P

Heat the olive oil in your favorite soup pot over medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, chili flakes and a pinch of salt and saute until the onions are translucent, try not to brown 'em.

Add the can of tomatoes and two tomato cans full of water or veggie stock and bring the whole thing to a bubbling boil over medium high heat.

Once the soup reaches boiling point, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer it for ten minutes.  Puree the soup with an immersion blender (this method is waaaaay easier than doing it in a blender, go pick up an immersion blender at Superstore for just over ten bucks, it's wooorrrth it) and stir in the basil and rotini.  Season with S&P and simmer for an extra five to fifteen minutes to let all the flavours become bff's.

For the garlic crostini: Heat up your broiler and place the ciabatta slices on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a bit of S&P.  Toast the ciabatta slices under the broiler until they are golden brown and then rub them down with the cut side of the garlic clove.  Serve the crostini afloat your bowl of deelish tomato basil soup :)

How easy was that?



Monday, September 12, 2011


Hello my darlings,

I realized today that I haven't ever really talked a lot about why I feel passionately about a vegetarian lifestyle.  It's a really personal topic, and it can be particularily sensitive to discuss, but I feel that it is time for me to share some of the reasons I went veggie with you, my awesome V.V. readers:

Health was my number one concern when I orginally commited to this way of life.  A few years ago when I was living in Toronto, I reached for a package of *processed food product* and read the ingredients.  I found that there were a bunch that I couldn't identify (let alone pronounce) so I wikipedia'd and googled them and decided that fake, chemical food was not something I wanted to put into my body (ummmm aspartame, anyone?).  White sugar and processed foods were quickly eliminated from my diet and meat soon followed.  I can't even begin to tell you about all of the health problems caused by eating meat and dairy and the advantages of a plant based diet (they write whole books on that stuff ya know ;) ) but you can read more about it here

When I heard that it takes roughly 60 lbs of water to produce 1 lb of potatoes and about 12,000 lbs of water to produce just 1 lb of beef, I knew I wasn't doing the environment any favors by contributing to the meat industry.  The cattle industry alone is responsible for emitting 19% of global methane emissions (thats baaaaaaad stuff).  There are a toonnnnn more environmental reasons to go vegetarian, you can read about them here

More than one billion people on this planet are starving.  STARVING!  It just doesn't make sense to me that we use vast amounts of farm land to grow food. . .for our food.  When it could be grown for people.  And after we grow crops to feed our meat, the meat is consumed by less than one third of the planet's population.  That's no fair. 

Then there are the animals.  I think we as a society have completely lost the connection between animals and meat.  Animals are meat.  They feel joy and pain just as we do.  There is absolutely no beating around the bush - when you eat meat, you are eating the flesh of a dead animal.  I think that there are few people, who when faced with the task of killing their own 'meat', could actually go through it.  I realize that this issue can be particularily sensitive for some people.  But I urge you to please, watch this video and consider what you see. 

Many of you (my wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL V.V. readers) are not vegetarian.  That's OKAY!!!  You are still wonderful, wonderful WONDERFUL!  In the end, you have to do what you feel is best for you.  But I do urge you to question the status quo, step out of your comfort zone, and and least consider reducing your meat consumption.  You would be doing so, so, so, so many favours to animals, humanity, Mother Nature and yourself (and all will thank you!).

Big hugs and kisses,

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Southern Fried Tofu Sandwich

Baby come back,
you can blame it all on me.  I was wrong (for taking such a long hiatus), and I just can't be without you (my wonderful V.V. Blog readers).

It is a beautiful, sweltering hot August day and V.V. is ready to blog from her NEW APARTMENT (equipped with a/c, thank gaaawwwwd AND the most GORGEOUS KITCHEN) which she is sharing with her beeeeeeloved ATM (who returns home on Thursday from a month at work in Nunavut EEEE!!!!). 

I discovered my new faaaaave way to prepare good ol' tofu and I'm ADDICTED!  I slice it thin, marinate it for an hour and then coat it in nutritional yeast (don't be afraid of nutritional yeast!!!!) and frrrryyyy it up!  OMG OMG OMG vegan honey dill and some oven baked french fries would be amazing with the dreamy little slabs!  For this blog, I've stuffed the num num slices into a baguette with a red cabbage romaine slaw. 

ATM has decided to try vegetarianism on for size (woo!) and has been raving about the tofu sandwiches they serve at work, so, my dear ATM, this one's for YOU (and my wonderful V.V. readers, too!).

Southern Fried Tofu Sandwich
-1 block of extra firm tofu
-lots of nutritional yeast (for coating the slabs)
-sunflower oil for frying
-baguette or crusty roll (toasted, if you like)
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/4 cup Japanese soy sauce
-1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
-1 tbsp nutritional yeast
-1/4 cup water
-lots of fresh ground peppa
-1/2 head of thinly sliced red cabbage
-1 chopped heart of romaine
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- juice of 1/2 a lemon
-1 tsp Japanese soy sauce
-1 tsp nutritional yeast
-toasted sunflower seeds

Cut the tofu as if it were a loaf of bread into 1/4" slices.  Cut each slice on a diagonal to form two triangles and lay the triangles in a large baking dish.  Whisk all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour it over the tofu.  Marinate for an hour.

Meanwhile you can whisk all the slaw ingredients minus the cabbage, romaine and sunflower seeds in a bowl and let it  hang out in the fridge while the tofu marinates.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes onto a plate.  Dip each side of the marinated tofu triangles and coat them WELL with the nute-yeast.  Add more yeast to the plate as you run out.

Toss the thinly sliced cabbage, romaine and sunflower seeds with the slaw dressing and set aside. 

Heat 3 tbsp sunflower oil in a pan over medium high heat and fry the tofu triangles on each side until they are golden brown (this wont take long at alllll so watch 'em!). 

Slice the baguette in half and lay the fried tofu triangles on it, each slice overlapping slightly.  Top with the slaw.  EAT!

This would be EXTRA NUMMY topped with sliced avocado or BBQ sauce or vegenaise or sliced pickles or whatever your little heart desires :) 



Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vegan Black Metal Chef

Hey Babes!

I came across this amaaaazzzing video by Vegan Black Metal Chef for 'pad thai'.  I am not much of a metal head myself, but cannot get enough of this video and the chef's growling instructions ("Cruuuuuush the peanuts, shooow them no mercy!!!") and hillarious (and creepy) kitchen knife collection.

Enjoy :) . . .Or elllssseeeeeeee raaaaaaaaaaaawwwwrrrr!! 


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Vegan Potato Salad

Hey Baaaaaaabes,

Today I am posting my recipe for potato salad! It's definitely not your traditional mayonnaise covered, hard boiled egg and chopped pickle laden pile of mush.  I use baby red and yellow potatoes, boil them until tender and then toss them in a tangy vinegrette of wine vinegar, Dijon mustard and fresh dill.  SOOO tasty and such a nice change from the goop you are used to seeing at back yard BBQ's (my apologies to those who like the tradish variety, you can always add 1/2 cup vegenaise to the dressing instead of the olive oil and maybe a chopped pickle or two if you mussssst).

Potato Salad a la Vinegrette
-1 bag baby yellow fleshed potatoes
-1 bag baby red skinned creamer potatoes
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-3 heaping tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1/2 red onion, finely diced
-6 scallions, chopped
-1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Put the taters in a large pot and fill it with water up to 1 inch above the taters.  Bring to a boil and cook until you can eaaaaasily poke a tater with a butter knife and it comes out eaaaaaaasily too.  Drain the taters.  At this point, I like to halve most of the potatoes and keep some whole for variety in texture.

In a large serving bowl, whisk the wine vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and a bit of S&P together until it had an even consistency.  Add the hot taters and combine weeeelllll.  The potaties will soak up the vinegrette and be soooo happy :)

Chill the potato salad for about an hour in the refrigerator and then add the red onion, scallion and dill.  Season with S&P and serrrrrrve it up!!


Vivacious Vegan <3

Monday, June 20, 2011

Vegan Ceasar Salad

Good Day To All You Sweeties,

Every time I go to a restaurant and ceasar salad on the menu, I cry a little inside.  Ceasar salad is one of my faaaaaaavorite salads EVER and I know I am not alone since ceasar salad seems to be on every gosh darn menu ANYWHERE!  Even Rotten Ronnie's (McD's) has friggin ceasar salad!  Even a large portion of Chinese restaurants in Winnipeg have ceasar salad on the menu!!!  So why do I weep over such a readily available salad?  Why, you ask?  Because while the majority of the classic Ceasar Cardini (creator of the ceasar salad if you didn't already guess that) dressing ingredients are vegan (olive oil, lemon juice, wine vinegar, garlic, S&P, and of course romaine lettuce) the EGG YOLKS that give the dressing its body, the WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE that gives the dressing its delicate ANCHOVY flavour and the PARMESEAN CHEESE are not not not not vegan at all.  And don't get me started on bottled salad dressings and store-bought croutons, TOO easy to make from scratch and soooo much better homemade!

There is hope for vegans who love this salad!  While you may not be able to order it at resto's, you can easily make a deeeeeeeeeelish vegan version of the salad at home that will impress all your friends who are vegans and friends who are devotees to the bottled variety (shudder!) alike! 

Vegan Ceasar Salad
-1 loaf of French bread, cubed
-1/4 cup veg oil
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 tsp thyme
-2 heads of romaine lettuce, washed and dried THOROUGHLY, quartered lengthwise and chopped crosswise into bite sized pieces
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-juice of 1 lemon
-2 tbsp grainy djon mustard
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
-1 tbsp soy sauce
-1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
-1/4 cup red wine vinegar
-1/2 cup olive oil
-a few tbsp water depending  on how thick/thin you like it

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees celcius.  Toss the bread cubes with the veg oil, garlic powder, thyme and season with S&P.  Spread the cubes onto a baking sheet and bake until golden, about 10-15 min, tossing them or twice.  Let them cooooool, man.

Put your romaine into a large salad bowl.  Put all other ingredients other than olive oil into your trusty blender and blend until smooth.  Slowly add olive oil in a continuous stream while the blender is running.  Add a few tsp of water if it's too thick.  Season with S&P.

Add the croutons to the lettuce and a few tbsp at a time, drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss, adding more dressing until you have the desired amount of creamy, garlicky goodness coatin the greens. 




Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Seitan Kebabs with Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Hey Loves!

It's been waaaaay too long since I last posted a recipe starring one of my fave vegan proteins: SEITAN!!!!!  If you've just tuned in, seitan (pronounced like 'say-tahn', not like 'Lucifer') is a fabulous meat substitute made from wheat gluten.  Seitan, or 'wheat meat', is high protein and fat free and has a creepily meat-like texture.  It is also waaaaaay too easy to make at home!  Check out this recipe here - you can find vital wheat gluten flour at Bulk Barn :)

Bee and I hosted a little BBQ (take THAT Mr. Cranky Neighbor!) the other night and served up some seitan kebabs with a DELISH and super easy home made BBQ sauce.  Seriously people, don't bother buying BBQ sauce in a bottle.  It's always better home made and its SO EASY!!!  We served up the kebabs with corn on the cob, potato salad, ceasar salad (all vegan of course!) and several brewskies :)
                                                    Bee, Buck, CB, ATM & V.V.'s toes :)

Seitan Kebabs with Chipotle BBQ Sauce
-6 Seitan Cutlets
-2 tbsp veg oil
-1 small yellow onion, finely diced
-5 garlic cloves, minced
-1/2 cup ketchup
-1 tbsp djon mustard
-1 tsp cumin
-1 - 2 tsp chipotle chili powder
-1 tbsp Mexican chili powder
-1 tbsp vegan sugar
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-2 tbsp soy sauce
-1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
-1/4 cup water
-S&P to your taste

Soak six wooden skewers in water for at least half an hour (otherwise they will catch on fire!!!) unless of course you have metal reusable skewers, in which case, proceed to the next step :) 

Cut the seitan cutlets into bite sized cubes and thread them onto the skewers. 

In a saucepan, heat the veg oil over medium high heat.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent and add all other ingredients.  Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for half an hour. 

Oil up either your BBQ or your cranky neighbors' BBQ and crank the heat to high. 

Coat the seitan kebabs with the home made BBQ sauce and cook on the BBQ, rotating every few min and basting with sauce until heated through (prob no more than seven min total). 

Serve with extra BBQ sauce and your fave BBQ sides :)