Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Sweet Yam and Marshmallow Casserole and Thanksgiving and Christmas meals, 2015

Before 2015 completely came to a close, ushering in 2016, I thought I'd sneak in a final post of the year, highlighting our recent holiday meals.

The family, as usual, picked the various eclectic dishes to create our Thanksgiving feast, some traditional, some not so much.  G picked a sweet potato casserole, and I hunted up a classic recipe with marshmallows that I veganized and slightly tweaked.  It came out deliciously well.  The recipe will be posted at the bottom of the page.

Here's the breakdown of our Thanksgiving celebration:

JK picked Soy Chicken and Steamed Rice
GR picked Hot and Sour Soup and Sushi
SR picked Takis and Cranberry Sauce
G picked the casserole and the Tofurky meal, which included the roast, gravy, wishbone, and brownies
I added roasted potatoes and veggies to the Tofurky and made my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll to go with the brownies
Sparkling apple cider to drink.

See below for some yummy close-ups.

Sweet Yam and Marshmallow Casserole

My Thanksgiving plate.

Thanksgiving Dessert plate

Christmas was a much simpler affair this year.  I only made one type of cookies, and our breakfast was modest.  Below I show you our morning meal and the dishes I brought to the larger family gathering at dinner.

Christmas breakfast: Tofu Scramble, Fried Potatoes, and Chorizo.

The cookies I made: Chocolate Tops

I brought three things for the evening gathering.
Number One: Gardein Beefless tips, to which I added Teriyaki sauce.

Number Two: A big, beautiful salad chock full of goodies.

Number Three: I also realized I've never made my Pumpkin Cream Cheese Roll, so I made that again and brought it to share.

How were your holidays?  Did you have wonderful food?  Any new dishes?

Sweet Yam and Marshmallow Casserole


Five Yams (Purple skinned, with orange flesh)
Water to cover
1/4 cup vegan margarine
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
3 Tbs. orange juice
1 Tbs. Cinnamon
Non-stick spray
2 and 1/2 - 10oz. bags of Dandies large marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Peel the yams, chop into large chunks and place in a large pot.  Cover with water and turn heat on high.  Bring to a boil, and boil for fifteen minutes.  Drain the water and leave yams in the pot.  Add the margarine, brown sugar, orange juice, and cinnamon.  Use an electric hand mixer to completely blend ingredients.  Spray a 9x13 inch dish with non-stick spray.  Spread the yam mixture evenly in the pan.  Top with the marshmallows.  Bake for 30 minutes. The marshmallows will brown and be super soft, and the yams are sweetly delicious.  This was definitely a hit.  The only challenge was when eating the leftovers, finding that several smaller hands had picked parts of the casserole bare of the marshmallows.  Feeds five hungry vegans for a few days.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Roasted Tofu and Red Potatoes with Paprika and Rosemary

I veganized this recipe recently, and my family could hardly wait to dig into it because of the aroma that had permeated our home from the oven.  I've made tofu and potatoes together before, but this particular way of preparing them was new for me.  The result was an appealing combination of textures and spices that made for a fulfilling dinner.  Served with a side of vegetables, this would make a complete meal.

Roasted Tofu and Red Potatoes with Rosemary


3 pounds of red potatoes, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 - 14oz. pkgs. of extra-firm tofu, water-packed, drained, chopped into 1/2" cubes
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
2 Tbs. paprika divided
1 Tbs. rosemary leaves, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. pepper, divided
2 tsp. garlic powder, divided


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large pot, cover the chopped potatoes with water and bring to a boil.   Boil for seven minutes.  Take the pot's lid, slightly cover the top of the pot, and drain the water into the sink  In the meantime, while the potatoes are boiling, get the spice mixture ready for tossing the potatoes and tofu.  In a large bowl, add half of the olive oil, paprika, rosemary, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Whisk well.  Add the potatoes and toss, until all the potatoes are coated.  Pour onto a large baking sheet.  Prepare the rest of the seasonings in the same bowl and whisk again.  Add the tofu cubes and gently toss to make sure they are coated as well.  The tofu is more delicate than the potatoes, so use a gentle hand.  Pour either next to or over the potatoes.  Bake for one hour, turning twice in that time.  Eventually the potatoes and tofu will be well mixed together, so just toss gently as to not mash the tofu.  When done, pour into a lovely serving platter, serve hot with a side of your favorite veggies, and enjoy your dinner.  Serves five hungry vegans.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Green Salad with Beyond Meat Strips and Easter, 2015

Easter this year was, as usual, a wonderful holiday to celebrate with family and delicious food.  Our gathering was smaller than usual; for dinner I brought a large green salad topped with chopped Beyond Meat chicken-style strips.  It went over really well, and one of the reasons was that I put a lot of goodies in the salad.  See below for our cuisine of the night.  I hope everyone else had a good holiday, too.

Green Salad with Beyond Meat Strips

My dinner plate: We had vegan stuffed shells, broccoli, garlic bread, olives, and homemade pickles with garlic, and my salad.

For dessert, everyone brought vegan desserts!  Is that awesome or what?  From the left we have: Cranberry Almond bars, Almond Cookies, Gingerbread, and my Chocolate Chip Pecan Bars .

Green Salad with Beyond Meat Strips


2 heads of hearts of Romaine or one large Romaine head
6 large button mushrooms, halved and sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
2 stalks of celery, sliced thinly
1 cup of parsley, chopped small
1 - 15oz. can garbanzos, drained
2 cups of broccoli florets, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 pkg. Beyond Meat chicken-style strips
1 Tbs. olive oil

Favorite vegan salad dressing


In a large bowl, put all of the ingredients from Romaine through tomatoes.  In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Chop the strips into thirds.  When the oil is hot, add the strips, and cook until browned, about five minutes or so.  Drain from the pan, and pat dry, if necessary.  Add to the salad.  Serve and top with your favorite dressing.  Very good and filling.  Feeds five hungry vegans and several of their relatives.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Garlicky Fried Rice with Asparagus and Mushrooms

The poor lighting in this photo does not do this dish any sort of justice.  Garlicky Fried Rice with Asparagus and Mushrooms was so good, I couldn't stop eating it.  Only putting the leftovers away saved my stomach from exploding.  This was easy to prepare and even easier to eat.  I'm sure your taste buds would agree.

Garlicky Fried Rice with Asparagus and Mushrooms


1 Tbs. Coconut Oil
2 Carrots, chopped small
8 to 10 Asparagus spears, ends trimmed, and chopped small
1 cup of sliced mushrooms
1 head of garlic, sliced thin
2 cups of leftover, cooked brown rice
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 cup of coarsely chopped peanuts


Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.  When oil is melted, add the carrots, asparagus and mushrooms.  Stir-fry for five or so minutes, until just fork-tender.  Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.  Add the rice, soy sauce and ginger.  Cook another five minutes, until heated through.  Add the peanuts and stir.  Serve immediately.  So, so good.  Feeds five hungry vegans.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Family Members: Glub, Glub and Rowrff!

Oh, this is so embarrassing.  This post is so overdue, but there is no way around it.  I just can't start talking about new pets, as if you all knew what I was talking about, when I haven't properly introduced you yet.  Last year, gulp, yes, last year, SR got a fish and JK got a dog.  I'll fill in the details below.

Here is Merope, the reddish Betta fish swimming near the top of her castle.  For all you Harry Potter fans, you'll know who she's named after.  SR inherited another Betta from a friend in March and then bought two others.  All were female, so she kept them in same tank.  Only Merope has survived and flourished.  Amazingly well.  For over a year.  With SR as her caretaker!  So, welcome, Merope, to your new home.

JK turned eight in July (that post is coming too, sheesh), and he really, really wanted a dog.  Our rule was no pets until the child in question turned ten, and we kept that rule for his sisters.  So, for months before his birthday, he cleaned up his sisters' dogs' poop almost every day.  He fed and watered them, too.  He showed us repeatedly that he could take on the daily responsibilities of having a dog.  So on the last Friday in June, we went to the pound and looked around.  There was Alicia, plaintively looking at us from her pen.  With a severe underbite and her quiet nature, she won us over.  We took her into the playroom where JK promptly named her Amber, then changed his mind to Alicia a few minutes later.  Apparently, he thought Alicia was spelled Elicia, but I didn't find that out until her tag was made with Alicia...sorry!  She is a boxer mix and a sweetheart.

Alicia was about six months old, they guessed, when we adopted her.  To make this post somewhat legit, the first two shots are from her first day at home.  Don't you love what the dogs have done to our backyard?  Sigh.  Anyhow, she's taller than the other two and has just been freckling up a storm since we've got her.  She's nearly completely speckled now.

This shot was taken within the first week of bringing her home. She's snuggled on top of GR with Abby on the left and Mindy on the right.  She has shown some aggression to Mindy, our most timid dog, and to Dennis, our cat.  That concerns us, but we are trying to train her out of that behavior.  Most of the time, everyone gets along.  Welcome home, Alicia!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Merit Vegetarian Restaurant- Sunnyvale, CA

I've told all of my children that when they were teenagers, I would take them on a special weekend trip, just the two of us, anywhere they wanted to go in California.  The exception being Disneyland: if I was able to afford Disneyland, I wanted to take all the children.  SR for the last couple of years has been mulling over Death Valley, but whenever she decided upon it, it was not the right season.  Apparently the temps are better in the Spring, and there are certain flowers that blossom during that time as well.  But something even better than Death Valley came up for her last June.  One of her favorite artists was performing a rare American tour, and one of her stops would be in Mountain View, a mere couple of hours from our home.  When I offered that to SR as her special weekend, she jumped at the chance.  So, off we went to the Emilie Autumn Asylum Experience.  Now, this music is not for everyone, not even me, but it wasn't about me.  It was about giving SR a special weekend. So, we left on Friday night, spent the night in a hotel, spent all day at the Experience, stayed over again, and had lunch the next day before returning home.  I researched restaurants before we left home and found Merit Vegetarian online.  It was open on Sundays, so I thought we'd give it a shot.  See my review below along with a a few shots of our trip.

 This is a funny shot of the hotel's room service menu.  If you look on the left side of the page, it lists appetizers and sides.  Then the right side of the page lists more appetizers and sides.  Notice how they are completely identical.  I wonder whom they are trying to fool?  

Okay, here's a pic of SR with others talking with someone who does daguerreotypes at the Experience.  Just so you know, SR has an unusual style in clothing.  She likes layers, gloves, employs a Goth influence along with some Victoria era influence, and adds her own unique touch.  I completely support her expressing herself with her attire.  Here, for once, she found others that dressed in a similar way.  She completely fit in and had made a few friends that will last a lifetime.  I'm the one that stood out with my baseball cap and camera and pants.  Oh, by the way, she's the one in the striped tights and dress.  Don't you see her?

Here she is locked up with other prisoners in one of several cages at the Experience.  You can see how utterly miserable everyone is.  Okay, okay, she's the one on the right with black hair, black dress and black and white striped tights.

 Here is Emilie Autumn and a couple of other permanent patients performing.

SR had a fabulous time, and that made it a great weekend for me too.  I love you, SR!

Here is Merit Vegetarian.  They are in a nondescript strip mall down a busy street.  Their info is:, ph: 408-245-8988, 548 Lawrence Expressway. Sunnyvale, CA 94085.

SR and I started off with Drumsticks and a sweet sauce.  They were very good.

 Then we went for their Orange Nuggets.  Great glaze, very tasty.

SR had one of their freshly made Mango Smoothies.  She let me have a sip, and it was delicious.

I ordered their Noble Broccoli.  It was a beef and broccoli style dish.  Very good, I liked the sauce it came with, too.  Lots of broccoli, which is one of my favorite veggies.

SR ordered the Spicy Noodle Soup.  She didn't realize it had mushrooms, which she despises, but she worked around it, and liked it in the end.  It had a tangy taste to it and was good.

 We ended our meal - and our stay - with desserts.  SR ordered the Caramel Flan and completely loved it.  I tasted it, and it was light and sweet, very good.  But...

 I had a penchant for chocolate, so I ordered their Mocha Chocolate Cake.  The cake itself was a little too dense for me.  I like light cakes and cupcakes.  But, the frosting made up for it.  So light, so creamy, it was in a word, delightful.  

All in all, I highly recommend Merit Vegetarian. The prices were reasonable, and if you're a vegan, looking for an open place to eat on a Sunday, this one will definitely work.  If you're in Sunnyvale, look them up.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pasta with Chorizo and Sweet Potato Sauce

This was another recipe inspired from Deceptively Delicious, which I renamed, veganized, changed ingredients up, the usual.  Still, the idea behind the original recipe was good: pureeing sweet potatoes for the sauce to get the kiddos to each more veggies. This also has chopped up celery and carrots, as well, so it's nice and healthy. This came out tasty, and the fam liked it, so all is good.  I puree my veggies ahead of time, bag and freeze them, and then thaw them out for recipes.  So, my sweet potatoes were already boiled, peeled and pureed for this recipe. This makes a lot of sauce, plenty for leftovers. Give this one a go, and let me know how it works for you.

Pasta with Chorizo and Sweet Potato Sauce


1 pound pasta (we used penne)
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 onions, chopped small
4 cloves garlic, minced
12 carrots, chopped small
4 stalks celery, chopped small
2 - 10 oz. pkgs. soy chorizo
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 - 29 oz. cans crushed tomatoes
1 - 14.5 oz. can Del Monte petite cut tomatoes with chipotle chilies
1 - 32 oz. box Imagine No-Chicken Broth
1 Tbs. vegan sugar
2 cups prepared sweet potato puree (boiled first)


Prepare pasta according to package directions midway through making the sauce.  For the sauce, heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When oil is hot, add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery, and cook for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the chorizo and salt and pepper, and cook for another five minutes.  Add the tomatoes, broth and sugar.  Lower heat to medium low and cook for at least 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in the sweet potato puree, and stir well.  Continue to cook until heated through, about ten minutes.  Serve over pasta.  This makes a bunch!  I froze about half the sauce for a later meal.  Feeds five hungry vegans and then some.  Very good.