Friday, November 20, 2009

Vegan For A Day

I am a Vegan!  Just for today.  Michelle and Katy set up this challenge for the week and I was so excited to be a part of it…


I am always up for trying new things, especially when it comes to food!  Being a vegan is a tough assignment.  It means ditching some of my loves:  cheese, milk, yogurt and… did I say cheese?  Yeah, that’s a hard one.  But, I can try anything for one day, so I signed on for Vegan For A Day where on Thursday everyone could be a vegan!

First, I started the day off with a yummy breakfast of Fat-Free Pumpkin and Raisin Biscuits 


and a steaming pot of French press coffee…


Then, I was off to meet my MIL.  She was taking me to an open house at a quaint tea room called The Painted Tea Cup


The tea room is set in an old Victorian-style home built in the 1900’s …


The interior has been transformed into a charming gift shop and tea room.  For the open house, the tea room’s seating was removed to make space for the holiday decor and gifts that were available for purchase.  It was a sight to see!  There were so many interesting items to explore including  jewelry, home decor, crafts, beautiful teapots and cups, Victorian- inspired decor, handmade gifts and of course food items!



















My focus always goes toward the food items!  I spied a display of dip mixes that were so delicious sounding, I knew a few would be coming home with me…


This one was especially interesting…


How good does that sound?!

There were shelves filled with homemade jams and jellies…


and candies…


As we browsed around the store, the owner offered us a cup of Apple Cider Spiced Tea which was amazing…


There was a nice offering of dips to sample…


I had to sample 2 teeny bites (don’t look vegan friends!):  Pineapple Pecan dip and Raspberry Zinfandel  which the owner told us won top honors at the Fancy Food Show…


There was also another appetizer tray of water crackers piped with a mix of  homemade Red Pepper Jelly and cream cheese, all dusted with powdered sugar.  I didn’t sample these, but they looked fabulous…


Such a festive morning!  Of course, I came home with 3 different dip mixes which I can’t wait to try!  I’m looking forward to going back for High Tea soon.  And maybe, more dip mixes :)

After my minor detour from the vegan way, I got back in the game at lunch.  I made it quick and easy with a Health is Wealth Chicken Free Patty


served on an Ezekiel Hamburger Bun.  This seeded variety is my favorite…


I put it all together with some baby spinach, a drizzle of Cranberry Honey Mustard and a juicy orange on the side…


Then, it was time for some vegan fun-in-the-kitchen!  I had an idea for a fun dinner involving “pepperoni”!  A couple of years ago, I dabbled in vegetarianism and had a blast researching and making all kinds of cool recipes.  One of those recipes included a fake-out “pepperoni” made from seitan.  Seitan (pronounced SAY-tan)is a vegetarian/vegan source of protein made from wheat gluten and has a chewy texture similar to meat.  It can be seasoned and cooked in a variety of ways, but my favorite way is with this “pepperoni-type” seasoning and then baking it.  During my vegetarian stint, I played with a few different recipes (here is one) but, one I would use the most was found on a veggie web board (unfortunately, I don’t know whom to give credit to – I had this written on a scrap piece of paper!)…

Baked Seitan

  • 1.5 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 3/4 c. cold water
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. worcestershire or soy sauce
  • 1-3 cloves garlic, crushed well ( I used garlic powder)

Mix dry ingredients.  Whisk together wet ingredients, then add to dry.  Knead for a few minutes.  Form into a log, tightly wrap in foil, twisting ends.  Bake for 90 minutes at 325 degrees.  Unwrap and cool completely before storing in refrigerator.

The main ingredient…


Ready to bake…


The end result…


This version actually tastes a lot more like bacon than pepperoni, but I think I was light on the spice (red pepper flakes would have spiced it up more) this time.  Bacon is okay, too!

I decided to use this as my topping for Pepperoni Pizza Potato Skins


Do you see the melty cheese on there?  It’s legal!  I used Road’s End Organics Chreese (sorry for the blur)…


I’ve used this product quite a bit.  Little daughter was on a vegan diet for the first 5 years of her life due to a milk-protein allergy.  I had to school myself on this allergy (honestly, the docs weren’t much help) and found that milk-protein is in a HUGE number of products.  But, I was able to find some great products to add to her diet and this was one of them.  Their Mac ‘n Chreese is also terrific and the daughters still ask for it sometimes!

I mixed it up (just the packet and boiling water) and added it to my baked potato skins with homemade marinara sauce and the diced Baked Seitan.  I served the skins with some green beans – delish!


I couldn’t let this adventure end without delving into a vegan dessert!  I decided to try out this recipe for Lucky Chocolate CakeThe black-eyed peas sounded interesting!  I was able to find some yummy vegan chocolate chips in my grocery store, too…


The result was a gooey, chocolaty cake…


A little too gooey – I could’ve baked it a bit longer.  But I snagged a taste from the corner and it was like a fudgy brownie!  This could be dangerous…  :)


What a marathon post, right?!    Sorry to blog your eyes off! 

I have to say that I really enjoyed this adventurous eating day.  It was fun trying out new foods!   I give vegans tons of credit for sticking with this lifestyle.  It does require a conscious decision and a certain diligence in finding foods that fit the diet and avoiding foods that don’t.  Overall, it was a great experience and thanks to Michelle and Katy for launching such a cool challenge!

I leave you with this long post for the weekend.  I’m going to spend the weekend playing catch-up ( my Google Reader is out. of. control ) and finishing up some projects.  Oh, and celebrating my birthday on Sunday!  Age – let’s not even go there.  OLD sums it up :) 

Have a great weekend everyone!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, you really went for it! I love what you came up with :) I've really enjoyed reading all the vegan for a day posts, still waiting to see if anyone decides to stick with it like I did after trying it for a month.

Tricia said...

Happy Birthday!

Yum Yucky said...

I had that same turkey centerpiece and my kids ripped it to shreds in less than 2 days.

So dang destructive.

Joanna Sutter said...

Man oh man! You took Vegan for a day to a whole new level! Bravo!

Michelle said...

you can cook for me any day. how is your daughter now?

katherine said...

The baked potatoes look delicious. I'm so tempted to try that pepperoni recipe now!

Tamara said...

That's it. I'm moving in with you. Your food looks so good all the dammm time!

Once again, totally jealous of the ingredients you have at your disposal. I think if I asked anyone for Vital Wheat Gluten in this town they would look at me like I have two heads. It's on my list to look for when I go to the city next though!

Great post Marissa.

The Incredible Shrinking Family said...

Seitan was my favorite vegan meat substitute ! You can also mince it to use as a ground beef substitute.

The shop looks charming !

Marissa said...

Yum! I love seitan!

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

Happy Birthday Weekend! Have fun celebrating!

I love the pictures from the tea room. I love tea rooms. I had my baby shower for the toddler in a tea room, and looking at your pictures brings back such nice memories... :)

Make sure your family spoils you this weekend! And if they forget, remind them! :)

Graze With Me said...

I had fun being 100% vegan for a day, it can be quite a bit of work though. Glad I didn't have to navigate my way through a dinner out!

I love your dessert, yum!

Amanda said...

Wow! What an interesting day of food!! I'm not that adventurous! Good for you.

I emailed you (the email from this site) with that running article I was talking about. Let me know if you get it. Have a great weekend!

And Happy Birthday!

This weekend I'm moving into my first house! Just me, no hubby/kids! I lived in an apt before!

C.G. the Foodie said...

I love how you made a "pepperoni" that was vegan. Very cool! And yum on the chocolate cake.

Sunny said...

oh i love going out for high tea!! so fun!
my cousin is a vegan, i would have such a hard time sticking to it. it would be kind of interesting to try it out for a day though!

Jenn said...

I knew you would rock that Vegan for a day thing!
Have a very, very, very happy Birthday, Marisa!

paige (Running around Normal) said...

Nice job on vegan for a day! Your eats look great and very creative with the meat subs :D
Pumpkin mix sounds delightful!

Anonymous said...

Not so sure I could live without my cheese!

What a great outing with your MIL! I love places like that!

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

Wonderful post! I did the vegan for a day but didn't take pictures. Yours are wonderful and I love how you really embraced the whole experience!!

Thinspired said...

Wow, I am really impressed with your vegan eats! You got really into it at dinner ;) Awesome. I've heard good things about those Health is Wealth products.
I'm with ya...cheese and yogurt would be hard to ever give up!!