January 11, 2015

Pumpkin Seed Pâté

I’m baaaaaack. Yep, that’s right, after taking a few months off from the blog, I’ve decided to rejoin the blogosphere. We have sooo much to talk about!

I’ve been jamming out to this, blissing out with this, and feasting my eyes on this.

Lately I’ve gazed at art here, been ice skating, watched professional glass-blowers do their thing (and I’m taking a glassblowing class with my partner next month!), spent weekends giving straw to cold, outside dogs, visited family for the holidays, and of course, I’ve been cooking and baking up at storm.

I’ve been working my butt off at my day job, and this week I actually celebrated my 1 year anniversary of working for the largest and most amazing animal rights organization in the world!

My 24th birthday is in five weeks, so fingers crossed that I get this for my birthday!! It was hinted to me, after I hinted to them what I wanted, that several family members might pitch in and get this for me. You all will be the first to know if I do!!

Speaking of gifts, here are two fun kitchen/food things that I have been wanting and finally got for the holidays that I’m sure tofu lovers and Earth lovers will appreciate. A tofu press and reusable grocery produce bags.

Finally, I was really struggling health-wise last Fall, and I’m still trying to get back on my feet. For a while, we thought I had something wrong with my heart, but after months of tests, it turns out it seems that I just have a heart murmur, which lots of people have (my partner actually has a heart murmur too! We’re twins!). I was diagnosed with an inner ear disease called Meniere’s disease. It basically just means I get a lot of random, severe episodes of vertigo/dizziness and have tinnitus (ringing in my ears). The cause is unknown and there is no cure, I can only manage it with motion sickness meds and anti-nausea meds, which I haven’t used at all. Anyone who knows me will know that taking any kind of medication makes me very anxious and I prefer to find all natural remedies to my ailments. I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s disease (a genetic form of hypothyroidism that lasts my entire life), and I have a goiter!! I was super against taking medication for this, and spent months testing and retesting my thyroid levels with blood work, but I only got sicker. My doctor explained the pretty awful long term effects and how meds are unavoidable and would actually probably make a lot of the sickness I’m feeling go away. I finally buckled down, sucked it up, and went for it. I’ve been taking the lowest dose possible daily for a few weeks now. The first week I didn’t feel so great, but I think that was because of how anxious I was about taking it. Now that my body is starting to get used to it, I’m starting to feel a lot better. Oh, and my top wisdom teeth came in (I’ve already had my bottoms out), ugh, but I have yet to get them removed because this happened at the height on my health issues and my doctor wouldn’t clear me for surgery.

Okay, enough babbling about depressing crap, let’s get to the good stuff.

I actually created this recipe and took these pictures last Fall, right around the time when things were starting to “fall” (lol) apart for me. Hey, you gotta have a sense of humor, even when things get rough, right?! I’ve been holding on to this recipe for months, knowing that I would be back to blogging in no time, and finally, today is that day! Spread this pâté on toast (I like to use this gluten-free bread) and crackers. It also makes a great dip for chips and raw veggies. You could even go all out and use that leftover pulp you’ve had in the freezer to make your own crackers, like I discuss in this post on making almond milk and what to do with the leftover almond pulp.

Pumpkin Seed Pâté

makes 1 cup

1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked 4-6 hrs (I use these)
1 tsp tamari (or soy sauce if you aren’t gluten-free)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (you could try white vinegar, though I never have)
½ tsp garlic powder
1 tsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt, or to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1-2 tbsp of water or olive oil
Optional, sun-dried tomatoes
Garnish with paprika and/or red pepper flakes

  1. Drain pumpkin seeds using a mesh strainer.
  2. Using a food processor, blender, or whatever you have to blend in, (I use this nifty immersion blender that comes with some cool attachments, one being a neat blending container) blend pumpkin seeds by themselves for a few seconds, until coarsely chopped. 
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and blend until desired consistency, adding water or oil as needed. I usually use about 1 tbsp of water.
  4. If you are feeling fancy and have extra time, try adding chopped sun-dried tomatoes. I honestly haven’t tried this, but I have a feeling it would be good.
  5. Garnish with paprika and red pepper flakes.
This recipe is so freaking easy and once the pumpkin seeds have soaked, this takes less than 5 minutes to make. So what are you waiting for? Go to your kitchen right now and make this. Immediately. It has a very distinct taste, almost like an artichoke dip, but not quite, and is super flavorful. The only bad thing about this pâté is that it is so addicting, that you will eat all of your appetizers before your guests even arrive. Oops!

August 7, 2014

Tofu "Egg" Salad Sandwich and Maple-Buffalo Cauliflower: A Guest Post from Alessandra Seiter of Farmers Market Vegan

Hi all! So I'm sure you've noticed that I've been away from my blog for a while. Between work and my health being a bit of a roller coaster lately, I've been a bit preoccupied. I do have an exciting post for you all today though! I'd like to introduce you to Alessandra Seiter of Farmers Market Vegan. A brilliant vegan blogger and activist, Alessandra and I first met in Italy in a vegetarian cooking class while studying abroad. I never would have guessed that years later we would be reunited in the world of vegan blogging. I was incredibly honored when Alessandra asked me to write a guest post for her blog, and knew immediately that I had to have her presence on mine as well. Without further ado, I present Alessandra and her detectable Tofu "Egg" Salad Sandwich and Maple-Buffalo Cauliflower (ummmm holy crap, that sounds freaking amazing!!!). Thank you Alessandra, so much, for sharing this incredible culinary genius of a meal, and for being such a powerhouse activist.

Three years ago and a continent away, Lindsay and I bonded as the only two vegans attending a vegetarian cooking course at a culinary academy in my aunt’s longtime home of Florence, Italy (to which I just recently had the immense pleasure of returning!). Little did I know that, once we had cut our final strand of homemade pasta and bade each other and the rest of our classmates goodbye, Lindsay and I would virtually reunite in the vegan blogosphere. After noticing an informative and well-written post on the Main Street Vegan website, I did a double-take upon viewing the contributor photo: “Oh my goodness gracious, is that LINDSAY?!?” A “hey, remember me?” email quickly confirmed my suspicion, and the result of our catch-up exchange you’re now reading!

The vegetarian cooking class through which Lindsay and I met.

Looking back on myself when I first met Lindsay, I see a very different person than who I am today. Aside from progressing in more conventional ways such as enrolling in college, I’ve also come a long way in healing my previously fraught relationship with food and understanding my identity as an activist (read all the details here!). After freshman year of college introduced me to a multiplicity of societal oppressions that existed among the speciesism that had first kindled my activist flame, I found myself seeking to combat not only the exploitation of non-human animals, but also such harmful “isms” as capitalism, colonialism, racism, sexism, ableism, neoliberalism, homophobia, and more.

Me and my vegetable garden in my hometown of Madison, WI.

Today, I seek to work at the intersections of these various oppressions – still focusing my energies in the animal rights movement, but remembering in theory and practice that the liberation of non-human animals will not come without the liberation of oppressed humans (and vice versa). With these intentions at the forefront of my activism, I serve as co-president of the Vassar Animal Rights Coalition (VARC), as intern and contributing writer at the multimedia hub of animal activism known as Our Hen House, and as the blogger behind my humble corner of the internet Farmers Market Vegan. When not writing, blogging, or organizing campus events, I enjoy cooking and baking, practicing yoga, and biking.

One of the recipes that I’ve most enjoyed cooking lately is a Tofu “Egg” Salad Sandwich accompanied by Maple-Buffalo Cauliflower. In deep adoration with all things sandwiches, maple syrup, vegan mayonnaise, and big bold flavors, these concurrent recipes adequately serve as my kind of comfort food. They also showcase the enormous positive leap that I’ve made in my psychological health in regards to my relationship with food, as many of the ingredients in these recipes sat on my past list of “taboo” foods despite their truly nourishing potential. I hope you’ll find these recipes as fulfilling – mentally and physically – as I do.

Huge thanks to Lindsay for featuring my post on her fabulous blog! Check out her post on my blog, Farmers Market Vegan, at this link. I’d also love it if you connected with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!


Tofu “Egg” Salad Sandwich
Serves 4

14 oz (1 package) firm tofu, frozen and thawed
1/3 cup scallions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup vegan mayonnaise (Organic Vegenaise & Just Mayo are my favorites)
¼ cup Dijon mustard
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp onion powder
¼ tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 slices whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted (gluten-free if necessary; I like Ezekiel sprouted grain breads)
1 ripe avocado, peeled and sliced into quarters

In a medium-sized bowl, crumble the tofu. Add the rest of the ingredients except the bread and avocado, and mash everything together until well-combined.

Mash one slice of avocado on each of four pieces of the toasted bread. On each of the remaining pieces of bread, spoon a quarter of the tofu salad. Sandwich one piece of avocado toast on top of each of the tofu salad toasts. Serve with Buffalo-Maple Cauliflower (see below).

Buffalo-Maple Cauliflower
Serves 2-4

1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and separated into smallish florets
1 ½ cups red hot sauce (such as Frank’s or homemade)
2 tbsp maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, place the cauliflower florets. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together the hot sauce and maple syrup. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the cauliflower and stir until well-coated.

Place the coated cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes, or until tender and nicely browned.

May 25, 2014

Chips N' Salsa Bean Burgers

Tomorrow is Memorial Day, a day to remember those who have died serving our country and a day to gather with family and friends to munch on all-American food. In honor of this special day, I have decided to finally share with you all my favorite bean burger recipe. I have been experimenting with different ingredients in bean burgers for years, never quite perfecting it. Last summer, I finally had my eureka moment. My twist on the traditional bean burger recipe was born on an evening when I was actually feeling quite lazy and wasn't in the mood to experiment with adding an assortment of condiments and spices. I decided to just toss in some salsa for the flavoring and leftover crushed tortilla chips instead of flour or breadcrumbs in with the beans. Plain corn tortilla chips turned out to be the best bean burger binder I have ever used. The burgers bind perfectly together and don't fall apart or get too mushy while I'm making them into patties. Salsa in turn, ended up being the best flavoring I've ever tried in bean burgers. I freaking love when the simplest, easiest recipe ideas turn out to be the tastiest!!

Chips N' Salsa Bean Burgers
makes 4 patties

1 15oz can pinto beans
1/2 a medium-sized yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup salsa (I like to use medium spicy, original Pace or Herdez)
1 cup plain corn tortilla chips, crushed (I use Green Mountain Gringo Original Tortilla Strips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Mash beans in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add diced onion, salsa, and crushed chips. Mix well.
  4. Using your hands, form into 4 patties and place on baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 12 minutes.
  6. Flip the patties.
  7. Bake for 10 more minutes. 
  8. Serve immediately with your favorite burger toppings.
If you have leftover salsa, try making a sauce for the burgers using 1 part salsa to 1 part vegan mayo. This combo also double as a great salad dressing! 

 What are your favorite foods to eat with family and friends on Memorial Day?

I have shared this on Healthy Vegan Fridays :)