What do you call a fake noodle?

Impasta, get it?

I love pasta. Since changing to a plant based diet we find ourselves eating tons of pasta and there have been no complaints about it. We find ourselves eating a lot of brown rice or quinoa pasta because they are made without eggs. I have found that although I am not gluten intolerant, I enjoy eating gluten free pasta more because I don’t feel as heavy after. Last night I decided to make one of my favorite pasta dished of all time and in the process a learned some great new tricks. Making this meal was a lot of fun and every time I make vegan chicken I make it a little better. Also I learned about making vegan Parmesan cheese which was a huge plus because Melissa goes crazy for Parmesan cheese. So here is my take on the classic fettuccine, chicken, broccoli, Alfredo.

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Vegan Parmesan Cheese

3/4 cup raw cashews

3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

3/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix/pulse until a fine meal is achieved. Store in the refrigerator to keep fresh.

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Vegan Chicken

1 block extra firm tofu

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup corn meal

1 tsp poultry seasoning

1/2 tsp paprika

salt and pepper to taste

2 Tbsp coconut oil

Tofu achieves a better chicken like consistency if frozen, thawed, and pressed for at least an hour. Plan ahead to make sure this is done before. When ready, cut the tofu into strips. Mix the other ingredients together and dredge the tofu on all sides.

Heat over to 425

Heat a frying pan on medium high heat. When hot add 1 Tbsp of oil and let melt. Once melted and oil is hot place tofu in oil and fry for about five minuted. Flip and fry another 5 minutes

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After frying both sides of the tofu, remove from the pan and place on baking sheet. Bake each side for roughly 5-7 minutes until crispy like chicken. Once baked, cut chicken into cubes.

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Vegan Alfredo

1 clove garlic

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups cauliflower chopped

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

salt and pepper to taste

1 1/2 Tbsp vegan Parmesan cheese

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

Cook the minced garlic with olive oil until golden brown. Add the almond milk and bring to a boil. Add salt, pepper, chopped cauliflower and cook until it’s soft, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a blender and add the Parmesan and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Add additional milk as needed while blending to achieve desired Alfredo consistency. Cook your favorite pasta. Return sauce to pan and toss with pasta. If you’re choosing to add anything to your dish like chicken and broccoli, add and toss.

Top with a little fresh parsley and serve with some homemade garlic bread.

Bon Appetite.

Chef Drew

This sh@% is bananas! B-A-N-A-N-A-S

I absolutely love bananas! I can honestly say I am obsessed with them. That includes anything that is banana flavored as well. I always have for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid Snackwells used to make these little banana bread bars that were absolutely amazing. Obviously I didn’t know back then that Snackwells was still a bunch of crap but it didn’t matter. I could eat like a million of them. The 1 box a week my mom bought was never enough and no one else ever got any, they were all mine. To this day banana bread is truly still one of my all time favorites.

A few months back we had some really ripe bananas at the end of the week, and when I say really ripe I mean super brown and squishy. So in an effort to save them I looked up some ideas to bake. Melissa loves muffins and I love bananas so it seemed pretty logical to make banana muffins. This recipe is super easy, we always have the ingredients in the house and you’re enjoying them in 30 minutes. Great for a breakfast, a snack, or whenever really. Oh yea and guess what they are vegan.

  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine, softened
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat over to 360 degrees

In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until soft. Add the margarine and sugar and cream together.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda. Combine with the banana mixture, stirring gently just to combine. If using walnuts, combine now.

Place silicone muffin molds in pan and fill each muffin about 2/3 full with batter. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Makes 6 medium muffins or 12 small muffins.

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Tastes great cold or heated with a little butter on top (I usually eat two at a time, 1 each way) These do not last long in our house.

Enjoy!

Chef Drew

Eating meat without eating meat

When we first started going meat free I thought it would be really hard to give up a lot of the dishes I loved, considering they all involved meat of some kind. Truth is, it’s not as hard as you would think it is. I love to cook so for me it has been a lot of fun researching ways to make food your mind would think is meat but really isn’t. Don’t you crave meat though? For the most part, no I really don’t. Your body craves what you get from meat, not the meat itself. As long as a I eat a well rounded diet and make sure I still get plenty of iron and protein then I don’t crave a ton of meat. I miss more of the flavor of the meats I used to eat then anything else. With a little creativity though you can make a lot of things that taste like what you gave up, it’s all in the right seasoning.

During the summer it’s a big time for burgers. Although it’s hard to recreate the actual taste of beef, there are lots of different types of completely meat free burgers you can make. For me, I personally like the feeling of holding and eating something that resembles a burger more than the being able to eat an actual hamburger. Melissa and I have always been into creating new types of burgers. You can make bean burgers, quinoa burgers, barley burgers, and my personal favorite portobello burgers. Today however I will be showcasing a new kind I have been wanting to do for awhile.

Back in December we ventured out to the Raleigh/Durham area with our visiting friends, Mike and CB. For lunch we stopped at a great brewery in Durham that was also a burger place. The only type on the menu we could order was the polenta burger. It was amazing and spiked my recent obsession with polenta and learning how to make it the perfect way. So last night for dinner I went for it and made polenta burgers with facon (fake bacon).

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Polenta

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill Polenta Grits

1 cup almond milk

1 cup vegetable broth or stock (we keep both so I use whatever is closer to me)

1 cup water

1 tbs vegan butter

salt and pepper to taste

Making polenta is super easy. Basically you need 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup of polenta. I like using a mixture of water, milk, and broth to get a full and creamy flavor. Bring your liquid and butter to a boil then add your polenta. Remove from heat and stir in a little salt, pepper, and whatever other seasoning you like. I typically use dill in mine because I like the way it tastes. Stir the polenta for about 5 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed to the desired consistency. For this sake I made mine a little thicker knowing it was for patties.

Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and spread your polenta out for as thick as you would like your patties. Cover and let set until cool then place in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. This way it will be firm enough to form patties.

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When your ready, cut patties the size you would like (I used a round cookie cutter to make it easy). It should make 6-8 depending on how thin you spread it out. Heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a little butter to the pan and fry your patties until golden brown and crispy on the outside (about 5 minutes per side)

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Bacon

For the bacon I am actually just going to post the website I took the recipe from. This is a great site that give you a bunch of different options to make bacon.

http://veganamericanprincess.com/6-easy-award-winning-fake-bacon-recipes-hard-to-believe-its-this-simple/

Here is the one I made:

1 package firm tofu (frozen and thawed completely, then pressed for at least a half hour)

1 tbs nutritional yeast

1 tbs water

2 tbs maple syrup

2 tbs liquid smoke flavoring

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2 tbs low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

2 tbs vegan butter

Slice the thawed tofu into very thin slices. In a medium bowl, stir together the yeast, water, maple syrup, liquid smoke, soy sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder. Place the tofu strips into the bowl to marinate for at least 10 minutes

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Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly fry the tofu strips until crisp, turning once. Mine were about 5 minutes per side but check after a few minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Serve immediately.

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I made my polenta burgers with a little vegan mayo, the bacon, and some sauteed mushrooms on a whole wheat bun with some homemade seasoned steak fries on the side. They were delicious. I couldn’t have been happier with my first bacon attempt. If anyone chooses to venture into making this please let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

-Chef Drew

Whole Food Plant Based – What the heck is that?

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If you’re reading this then you may be asking yourself what the heck does whole food and plant based really mean. Whether you’re new to changing your diet to a healthier one or you’ve been at it for awhile, it’s good to know the direction you’re heading in. We’ve been at this for awhile and have made numerous changes to the way we eat. We started experimenting with meatless meals a few years ago and have since continued to modify it to where we are now: a whole food, plant based diet.

  1. Following a whole food diet involves maximizing your nutrient intake from natural sources and avoiding nutrient-poor processed foods. Whole foods mainly include plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits and nuts, and animal foods such as eggs, meat, fish and poultry.

(healthyeating.sfgate.com/sample-day-wholefooddiet-1763.html)

Really the long and short of this concept is to cut out processed foods. Get rid of the chemicals added to foods and as closely to organic as you can. Obviously this is really hard to accomplish but we do the best we can. You’d really be surprised at how much stuff you can cut out without really trying. Starting with pre-made food is the easiest. No microwave meals! Cook your own food. When you make it, you know what’s going into it. Read your food labels. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients then they are probably chemicals and not great for your body. If you can find foods with less than 4 or 5 ingredients then that’s the best for you. If not then you should at least know what everything is that’s listed. If you don’t, don’t eat it.

Now let’s focus on plant based. This means we don’t eat any animal products. That doesn’t mean we eat nothing but salads and leafy greens. Taken from one of our favorite sites, Forks Over Knives:

A whole-food, plant-based diet is centered on whole, unrefined, or minimally refined plants. It’s a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains, and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products, and eggs, as well as highly refined foods like bleached flour, refined sugar, and oil.

We know that’s a mouthful! Rest assured, though, that you’ll be eating in a way that people have thrived on for thousands of years. We believe that you will find—as we do—that the diet and foods are very tasty and satisfying. Following are the food categories from which you’ll eat, along with a few examples from each. These include the ingredients you’ll be using to make familiar dishes, such as pizza, mashed potatoes, lasagna, and burritos:

  • Fruit: mangoes, bananas, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries, etc.
  • Vegetables: lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, carrots, etc.
  • Tubers and starchy vegetables: potatoes, yams, yucca, winter squash, corn, green peas, etc.
  • Whole grains: millet, quinoa, barley, rice, whole wheat, oats, etc.
  • Legumes: kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, lima beans, cannellini beans, black beans, etc.

Hopefully this helps answer a few questions you may have right off the bat. Stay tuned for my take on all my favorite meals growing, just with a new twist.

Hey Everyone!

Hey guys, this is my new blog, Veggie and the Full Effect. Welcome to my world. This is set up to tell my journey through a plant based diet. My plan is to share with you what it is that Melissa and I do with our diet. Yes we gave up meat and dairy but that doesn’t mean we don’t eat great food. I will share my favorite recipes and thoughts on how to eat food that excludes meat and dairy. Every now and then I may throw in something exercise related but my main goal is to show everyone how much fun we are having with creating new and exciting meals for ourselves and the health benefits of taking on this lifestyle. Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts with me as well. I also take requests so if you’d like to see something just ask and I’ll try my best to cook it and share it. I already have a pretty great list of things we have made since starting this journey so over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting them. I love to cook and find new things to make so hopefully this will be a great way to keep me going while providing some great inspiration to others who want to try new fun foods. Enjoy!

i-heart-veggies