Thursday, February 27, 2014

Qrunch: Quinoa-Based Veggie Burgers!

A few months ago I was contacted by Qrunch to review some of their newer, quinoa-based (and GF) veggie burgers. With the amount of veggie burger options available at the grocery store, it was pretty refreshing to see something different - something that wasn't gluten or black bean based.



I chose to pick up the Green Chile, Sweet Curry, and Original flavors. The other variety, Spicy Italian, had been the feature of some dinners in the past and I did enjoy it. It is SPICY, though! So, be prepared!

The other flavors were also tasty, as well as versatile. Not knowing quite how to dress a veggie burger with Indian spices, I added some simple ketchup, mustard, and spinach to the Sweet Curry patty and was impressed by how well the sweetness and depth of the curry flavors mixed with the traditional burger condiments.

The Green Chile flavor was also very pleasant (and not as spicy as the Spicy Italian!). This patty would be tasty with guacamole and salsa on top. The Original patties were mild enough that one could experiment with all sorts of toppings.

The texture of the patties is different from other veggie burgers, in that they aren't as chewy as some other patties and they tend to fall apart quickly (which I don't mind). My only complaint would be that the patties can be pretty dry once they're cooked, and so sauces and dressings are really needed to increase the moisture level while getting one's nom on.

Overall, Qrunch burgers are definitely worth giving a try! The complexity in flavors are quite impressive and the burgers are, for sure, tasty. Thanks, Qrunch!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Transformation Contest and My Hiatus

It's been quite some time since there has been an update on Vegan Noms, yet I do intend on returning to blogging - providing some reviews of great products and perhaps some new recipes. The past few months have included the whirlwind of the holidays, and the crash back to reality (and -10 degree weather, ick). Cabin fever and a lack of motivation to get creative in the kitchen have impeded blog updates, yet I have also been up to something else.


My Crossfit box, CrossFit Copley, has been running a "Transformation Contest" for about the past 4 weeks, and will continue for 4 more. This includes the camaraderie of fellow athletes as we have been journeying through nutritional coaching for carb cycling, biweekly body measurements, daily physical activity and mobility, mandatory eustress activities (yes!), and gaining insight into how our bodies can perform at their best.

What I've been eating has, honestly, been pretty boring from a blogger point of view (lots of tofu scrambles, overnight oats, salads, chickpea curries, raw veggies, and sweet potato), yet I may offer a glimpse into my daily noms as I move forward. I haven't been eating out much and have been eschewing some of my favorite treats… Starbucks lattes, Endangered Species chocolate, french fries, cookies, sammiches with processed vegan yumminess… which has been difficult, lemme tell ya. Yet, I have been noticing some really stellar changes in my fitness levels. Plus, I'm lookin' supa-fine.

Stay tuned for some updates!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

A Visit to Townhall In Cleveland… and a Beet Burger!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by someone from Townhall, a restaurant in Cleveland, on the old Twitter account - luckily I was able to figure out how to use Twitter during this time so I could respond - and was invited to come try out their Vegan Night on Mondays! Is there ever better news about a local restaurant serving a special vegan menu?! I think not.

Townhall boasts "organically driven, sustainable, and made with fresh local ingredients" and their original menu offers fare from all sorts of different cuisines, with unique and flavorful twists.


The Vegan Night menu highlights the usual vegan dishes they offer, as well as some special entrees. And desserts!


Vegan Facts!


The "emulsive cocktail" menu is quite impressive. Here is the Claret cocktail - the muddled fruit juice and spice concoction was served with a giant ice cube and stirrer. It was very refreshing and something new, compared to the usual old versions of mojitos or margaritas.


I'd definitely go back for another one of these...


My guy ordered the Tofu Paprikash: orchiette pasta, Hungarian paprika, mushrooms, tomatoes, and English peas. And tofu, of course! It was a deliciously creamy dish with just the right amount of spice...


The Townhall Veganburger is made from brown rice, black beans, onions, and BEETS! The beets give it a delightful red color and the way it is spiced lends a flavorful punch. This burger is moist and wonderful, topped with Daiya cheese (Swiss, I believe). There was initially some confusion about the bun not being vegan, yet our server came out with one after concluding that the bun was, in fact, vegan. This burger didn't need any extra accompaniment or sauce… it was stupendous.


Vitality Chocolate Chip Cookies were served for dessert - small, gluten free morsels with a chocolatey twist. These were quite tasty.

I would like to thank the staff and management at Townhall for inviting my guy and me up to sample Vegan Night - their generosity and kindness will not be forgotten! Also, with a Vegan Night menu that changes every month or so, we will have to make time to come back so that we can see what else they create!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013!

Happy belated Thanskgiving, bloggers! This year was my 6th Thanksgiving holiday as a vegan - and my 6th year hosting an all-vegan feast for my family! Even though half of my fam was out of town this year, my father, brother, and I enjoyed a quiet, wine-filled evening of comfort food and Christmas music.


Included in our spread was our certificate for Farm Sanctuary's Adopt-a-Turkey, featuring the lovely rescue turkey, Tulip! She was quite a hit and, I'm sure, very appreciative of the plant-based meal about to be presented.


Our appetizer was Hot Caramelized Onion Bacon Dip from Can't Be Vegan. Sinful and delicious.


Our entire spread! Let's break it down...


Isa's Green Bean Mushroom Casserole - so creamy, oniony, and rich. This has been served nearly every year and is now a tradition.


Gardein's Stuffed Turk'y! This product was inexplicably absent from the shelves last year (WTF), yet made a big reappearance this year - and I was SO glad to see it! Breaded and perfectly spiced, these are simply wonderful. And, they come with their own gravy packets!


Mashed potatoes with vegan sour cream and garlic, mmm. And crescent rolls peeking out from the background!


Apple cider glazed brussels sprouts. Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete with out these little cruciferous morsels.


My dad brought over some "hot sauce" - a reminder of the chicken joint we would frequent when we were kids. It's rice with Mexican spices and tomatoes. Pretty damn yummy! Very grateful that he brought a vegan dish to share.


A full plate -> a full belly. Accompanied by a many a glass of red wine and laughs.


Our meal was all tied together by a slice of Kathy's Speculoos Pecan Maple Cheesecake… SO decadent, SO wonderful.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! What was your favorite dish?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Adopt a Turkey this Thanksgiving!

What better way to flip tradition on its head than to supporting the life, independence, and happiness of a rescued turkey instead of eating one this Thanksgiving? Farm Sanctuary of Watkins Glen, New York is a place which provides safety, care, and love for rescued farm animals. During this holiday season, I would like to promote their efforts and philosophy by asking you to consider adopting a turkey!


This time of year we find ourselves and others around us pitching in to care for those who are less fortunate, yet it is all too easy to overlook one of the most glaringly obvious acts of kindness we can make every time we prepare a meal: choosing not to participate in the needless suffering of other beings.

I encourage everyone to talk to the important people in your life about why you are grateful to be a vegan, be involved in ethical ventures and causes, or to have the freedom to make such lifestyle choices. Also: to ask our fellow humans to not allow tradition or taste buds to become more important than the life and autonomy of another living creature.


For some resources on navigating the holidays as a vegan, as well as other social situations, please check out the Vegetarian Resource Group and Living Vegan for tips. And have a magnificent, vegan holiday!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Tofutti Triple Chocolate Ice Cream Cones = Perfection

Ahh, MoFo has come and gone and - as is customary - I only made it about halfway through. Luckily, I stuck with my plans to present fabulous and delicious guest posts from some of my favorite bloggers and friends. I hope you enjoyed them and are now fans of their fabulosity. Until next year, MoFo!

Today is about ice cream. An homage to the end of summer (yet still lingering 80 degree weather... huh?). A few weeks back, Tofutti contacted me and offered to send me one of their products for review (and ravenous consumption). Being an avid fan of Tofutti since my very beginnings in veganism, I jumped at the chance to partake.


Having never seen the Yours Truly Triple Chocolate Happiness cones in stores, I requested that this be the product I receive - and they sent me two!!


Just like the store-bought cones of omnivorous youth, these promised creamy-sweet satisfaction. And I would venture to say that they're quintuple chocolate... chocolate cone, chocolate soy ice cream, chocolate shell, and chocolate cookie bits... and a chocolatey syrup filling inside the cone!


These are the perfect answer to the most monstrous of chocolate cravings, not for the weak at heart. But, for a diehard chocoholic, such as myself, this was perfection. Highly recommended!

Thank you, Tofutti, for sharing the love!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan MoFo: Apple Cinnamon Sundae from Special Guest Vegan Yack Attack!


Hello, bloggers! Behold, the final Freaky Friday guest post of MoFo 2013 on Vegan Noms. Today I bring you a spectacular post from Jackie of Vegan Yack Attack! Just look at those photos, are you drooling yet?!



Hi Everyone! My name is Jackie, and I’m the blogger behind Vegan Yack Attack. Firstly, I just wanted to thank Katie for having me as a guest blogger for her Freaky Friday theme, today. Such a fun idea! I’ve been cookin’ up vegan mac ‘n’ cheese all month on my blog, so it is very nice to get a break and show you this awesome dessert recipe that’s perfect for fall.



Calling this a sundae may be a teeny bit of a stretch, but hey, there’s ice cream and fruit and it’s sweet, so I think it fits the bill. Clearly, this ain’t your average sundae, and it may even be slightly healthier, to boot! You have your homemade ice cream sweetened with coconut sugar and apple chunks, with a helping of cinnamon. Then there are the baked honey crisp apples that are so warm and sweet.



Basically, it’s like a crustless apple pie a la mode! I assure you, the crust is not missed in this case (Sorry, crust!). The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the ice cream to set up! You’re more than welcome to make the ice cream sweeter, but I feel that it balances perfectly with the caramelized apple-bowl.



RECIPE

Makes 8 Apples

Ingredients:

  • 1- 13.5 oz. Can of Light Coconut Milk
  • 1- 13.5 oz. Can of Full-fat Coconut Milk
  • ¼ C. Coconut Sugar (Add 1-2 T. More if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 8 Medium-Sized Honey Crisp Apples
  • 2 T. Chopped Pecans for Garnish
  • Sprinkle of Coconut Sugar for Garnish

Directions:

  1. Place the coconut milks, coconut sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt into a blender. Puree until completely smooth, then chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. If you have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into the maker and run until it is thicker than soft serve (or frozen yogurt).
  3. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a Ziploc bag and wait until it freezes completely. Then break the mixture into chunks and puree them in a food processor until smooth.
  4. Core the apples, but try to leave the bottom ¼” of apple there, so that there is not a leaky hole. (Ewwww) ;)
  5. Then, cut a funnel-like shape out of the top of the apples to make them like a bowl. Save half of the extra apple, and dice it.
  6. Fold the apple chunks into the ice cream.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Put the ice cream mixture back into the freezer to firm it up a bit, while you bake the apples.
  9. Place the apples in a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they have softened and browned a little.
  10. Take the apples out of the oven and let cool for 10 minutes, and then scoop the ice cream on top of each one. Garnish with pecans and coconut sugar.



Serious YUM! Be sure to visit Vegan Yack Attack and say hello to Jackie before you retire from MoFo exhaustion!