Vegan dinner with friends (+giveaway winners announced)

How was everyone’s weekend? Mine flew by again… funny how that happens every.single.time. It was actually full of really fun stuff, starting with a dinner with friends on Friday night. I cooked!

Josh and Melissa were over for dinner. You’ve probably seen them on the blog before but I have to give them a shout out anyway. Josh is the blogger behind Lost In the Beer Aisle and Melissa is the founder of Ecolissa (remember it?). They’re both vegetarian (Melissa is vegan) so I challenged myself to cook an all vegan dinner. Actually, it wasn’t even that hard. I cooked real food, like I always do.

Scenes from my kitchen…

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On the menu:

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We started with some Azerbaijani dip – naturally vegan! Smile

Here is a preview of what Josh was drinking – you’ll have to check out his blog if you want to know whether it’s any good Winking smile

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Melissa and I were drinking organic Riesling she brought over. It was perfect with the slightly spicy dish I made.

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This red curry recipe had great reviews on allrecipes.com but it seems like everyone made modifications to it (which by the way is a major pet peeve of mine… if you had to modify it to death to make it taste good, guess what – the recipe is probably not 5 stars!! anyways… we won’t get cranky tonight :lol: ).

I (obviously) subbed tofu for chicken, used light coconut milk, doubled the amount of veggies and included broccoli and bamboo shoots as well. It tasted off for a while until I just kept on adding more and more red curry paste (I used at least 5T by the end). A whole lime’s worth of juice seemed to finally make the flavors pop. It still wasn’t spicy enough for me but Adam talked me out of dumping the whole jar of thai curry paste into the pot. What can I say, I like things spicy Winking smile

Dessert needed almost no modification.

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I am certain you’ve seen Mama Pea’s dough balls all over the blogosphere. Yes? I’ve been drooling over them ever since the Foodbuzz festival (I think she veganized Annie the Baker’s recipe the day after the trip!). My dough was DRY – like powdery dry. I hoped it would stick together in the freezer but no luck. I added about 1/4 cup of water to the dough and worked it with my hands until it seemed to cooperate a bit better and I was able to shape it into dough balls. 10 minutes later came out these lovely pillows.

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Peanut buttery perfection. This whole plate was gone by the end of the night. We won’t name names but someone at the table consumed 8 cookies. Maybe even more than one person. Yup, that good. Smile

It was such a fun night!! We didn’t even realize that we talked until past 1am and that is way past this old lady’s bed time. Melissa even informed me that no one wears nude stockings anymore. Is that true???? Disappointed smile I felt like one of those people that still wear things that were “in” when they were young. Wow, now I really sound old. Haha. Anyways, we made plans to talk fashion and beer again, very soon.

And the next morning, I had to pretend like a late night and drinking did not happen because this slave driver my sister was at my house bright and early ready to run.

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I was NOT as excited to run outside. In the cold. Between mounds of snow.

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But it was amazing!!! It was actually a gorgeous day out and I did a 4+ mile loop around the river with my sister and she took off for one more finishing 9 miles for the first time (she’s training for the NYC half marathon!). It sure set the right tone for the rest of the day. Oh yes, it was one good weekend full of more good eats and even shopping (thanks parents!!).

Ok, I’m off to pack for my business trip to NY. Melissa, I bought new tights so hopefully I won’t get laughed at in NY. :lol:

Ooh, before I forget – the winners of the Now Eat This cookbook giveaway are #15 and #79. Congrats ladies! Please email your addresses to elina@healthyandsane.com and I’ll make sure you get your cookbooks asap. Smile

Can vegan cheese taste good?

The other night I made pizza and as Adam and I were quietly gobbling up our slices I heard him mumble: “Poor vegans, they could never enjoy this!” Since I love all kinds of food, I follow quite a few vegetarian and vegan bloggers so I’ve heard many of them rave about daiya cheese. Daiya cheese is dairy free and soy free – it’s basically made of tapioca flour, oils and gums. While I’m obviously not vegan (or lactose intolerant for that matter) and would always prefer an organic version of dairy cheese, I was curious. So curious in fact, that I wanted to have a cheese throwdown!

Does vegan cheese taste like “real” cheese? Or at least, can it taste good?

I present to you, the contestants!

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I halved one small pita and made little pita pizzas. Daiya topped pizza:

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Lite (dairy) cheese pizza:

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Some ‘shrooms

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After 5 minutes in the toaster oven (quickest dinner ever!)

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Can you tell what’s what?

Yup, that’s daiya cheese – didn’t melt as much but I’m sure it would if I gave it more time in the oven. I just wanted to compare the two with the same oven times.

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“Regular” pizza with light cheese melted a bit better for sure. But how did these taste?

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This lite cheese is not great but I’m more about the crust, sauce and toppings when it comes to pizza. Daiya mozzarella cheese tasted rich and cheesy but unfortunately it tasted like blue cheese to me, not mozzarella… and I can’t stand blue cheese. I took a second bite to give it another chance but just couldn’t stomach it. 20 minutes later Adam was home and gobbled up my leftover half with Daiya. He said to tell you all that it tasted really good, blue cheesy but way better than he thought. And he doesn’t pity vegans as much anymore… that’s basically a quote. Winking smile

Have you ever had vegan cheese? What did you think? It was fun conducting this little experiment! Anything else you’ve been wondering about? Maybe I can be your guinea pig. :lol:

Just 2 more days left to enter the Now Eat This! cookbook giveaway!

Tossed crepe wrap love

I had one of those 13 hour work days today… if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you may remember that this happens at least quarterly. Every time I stress out about not being able to fit exercise in. Every time I stress eat because of work stress and “being unable to fit exercise in.”

But not this time!

I am determined to feel the stress and not try numbing it with food.

Tomorrow is also weigh-in day at Weight Watchers. I reminded this to myself this morning and made sure to stick to the program… even when I was uncomfortable (emotionally, not hunger-wise) and wanted to eat!

So when dinner time rolled around (and no sign of end of work day) I decided to make do with what I have available around me – mall food! A dieter’s nightmare? Nope. I’m in LOVE!!

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This is the Tossed crepe wrap “designed” by me. It contained mixed greens, chickpeas, roasted red peppers, sugar snap peas, grape tomatoes and fat free cucumber dill dressing.

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It was AMAZING. Did you catch that they use a CREPE as a wrap? Yeah! It’s even whole wheat and has 11 grams of protein!! And only 6 Points Plus, even leaving me with 1 point to spare. Btw, they have this cool nutritional calculator on their site. Awesomeness! :cool:

How do you stay healthy in these situations? I’d normally bring dinner with me (I will tomorrow) but I thought I could just swing by home for dinner. Staying at my work building proved to be a lot more time efficient… and actually really delicious. Smile 

Don’t forget to enter the Now Eat This! cookbook giveaway!!

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