Wednesday, October 31, 2012

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! put a punkin on it!

it is the most wonderful time of the year (for me)  ha!

it is the one time of the year you can dress up as anything you ever wanted, drop all of your inhibitions, and go out and have a blast!

to celebrate.... let's talk pumpkins! i know you are probably sick of making pumpkin cookies and pumpkin muffins, so try out some of these ideas instead!

  • pumpkin soup! mix one can of pumpkin puree  with your favorite veggie broth and a couple of cups soymilk. season it with nutmeg, sugar, salt, and pepper for a new holiday favorite! p.s. coconut is also super yummy in pumpkin soup!
  • pumpkin on a pizza! add a cup or two of diced or chunked roasted pumpkin on your favorite vegan pizza as a topping. deliciousssss.
  • vegan pumpkin latte! check out this amazing recipe for a yummy halloween beverage!
  • mashed pumpkin-cauliflower delight! add some pureed pumpkin to your cauliflower mash! add vegan margarine, and season with cinnamon and nutmeg and a tad bit of your favorite sweetener for a yummy side dish!
  • creamy pumpkin dip! add equal parts pumpkin puree and tofutti better than cream cheese in a bowl. sweeten with agave or maple syrup (what you prefer) and season with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to taste. add a dollop of vanilla or orange extract for some flavor. you can also use pumpkin pie filling and mix it with the cream cheese. pumpkin pie filling is already seasoned, but you still might want to add the extracts for added flavor. your crackers, ginger snaps, and apple slices will thank you!
  • arborio pumpkin! have a favorite risotto base recipe and are running out of things to add to it? try pureed pumpkin! 
  • pumpkin pasta sauce! add some sauteed onion and garlic to pureed pumpkin in a pan. add a little olive oil and a little veggie broth to thin it out. season to taste (savory? sweet? what do you like?!) and pour over your fave pasta! 
  • amazing pumpkin smoothies! mix together approx a cup of vanilla almond or soy milk, a half cup of canned pureed pumpkin, a half of a banana (or a whole banana if you want it thicker), a few table spoons of vanilla soy yogurt, spices to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice) and a dollop of vanilla extract in a blender. blend!  top with vegan whipped cream or your own homemade whipped topping recipe. sprinkle cinnamon on top.  DRINK.
  • pumpkin butter or applesauce! add pumpkin puree to your favorite applesauce. add cinnamon and sweetener to taste.  yummm!
  • pumpkin peanut butter! add pureed pumpkin in a food processor along with your favorite natural peanut butter (just a little at a time). add a little cinnamon and a dollop of agave. process! adjust ingredients until you find the right texture and taste to suit your needs.  this is SOOO good on toast!
  • pumpkin mac and cheese!  i have never had this, but a friend of mine swears that if you add pumpkin puree to your mac and cheese casserole, it makes it soooo creamy and tasty.  i am definitely gonna try this next time i make vegan mac.
  • pumpkin oatmeal! stir some pumpkin puree into your oatmeal and add a little cinnamon and sweetener.  top with raisins or vegan chocolate chips. OMG i love this year round.
  • pumpkin hummus! mix pumpkin puree with your normal hummus ingredients (tahini, olive oil, lemon, chickpeas) and season! this is delicious whether seasoned savory (garlic and cumin) or sweet (cinnamon and sweetener).
  • pumpkin chili!  pumpkin is an amazing ingredient to thicken your chili, and its super tasty!
  • pumpkin martini! i love this recipe. substitute the half and half for silk soy creamer. i also substitute the sweeteners based on my mood ha! 
  • pumpkin quinoa! add pureed pumpkin and some vanilla almond milk to prepared quinoa. season with cinnamon and nutmeg. add a little agave nectar to taste. simmer until all the moisture is absorbed.  so good.
  • pumpkin whip! bored with your favorite vegan whipped topping? mix in one half to one cup of pumpkin puree to two cups of your homemade or store bought whipped topping. season with your favorite pumpkin-y pie seasonings. this is amazing on top of a mug of hot soy chocolate.
  • candied pumpkin seeds! sick of toasted plain old pumpkin seeds? me, too! try taking your freshly removed pumpkin seeds and mixing them in a bowl with brown sugar, a pinch of salt,  and your favorite pumpkin pie spices. after they are coated, spread them onto a greased and foil-lined baking pan. bake at 250 degrees until they are glazed (about 45 minutes). so much better!

would you try any of these?!
do you know any other quick and easy things 
to do with pumpkin?  
let me know!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

vegan halloween candy and some music!

i have temporarily added some spooky music at the bottom of my blog's sidebar.
just some of my personal halloween faves-- i think i have it on shuffle,
but you can pick any song on there you want =]
(nothing is too obnoxious-- i left off anything too screamy or loud) 

YES, there is such a thing as vegan halloween candy!
check it out-- you might be surprised! 
which is YOUR favorite?

(compiled from PETA and other random sites and company pages around the web
if you see something that you know is incorrect or no longer vegan or want to add to the list, send me a message!)

airheads taffy
atkin's peanut butter bars
annie's bunny fruit snacks
bazooka bubble gum (not gumballs)
big league chew
blow pops
brach's cinnamon hard candy
brach's dem bones
brach's hi-c fruit and orange slices
brach's root beer barrels
brach's star brites peppermint candy
boston baked beans
bug city
charms lollipops (without gum)
cherry heads
chewy atomic fireballs
chocolove dark chocolate bar
chocolove cherries and almonds dark chocolate bar
chocolove crystallized ginger dark chocolate bar
chocolove orange peel dark chocolate bar
chocolove raspberry dark chocolate bar
cracker jack
cry babies
crystal light candies
dum-dums lollipops
endangered species dark chocolate
ferrara pan anise bears
ferrara pan cinnamon hearts
ferrara pan gum drops (regular and halloween)
ferrara pan spearmint leaves
fluffy stuff cotton candy
french burnt peanuts
ginger people ginger chews
goldberg's peanut chews (original)
hot tamales
hubba bubba bubblegum
jelly belly (only if you are okay with beeswax)
jolly ranchers hard candy
laffy taffy (only some flavors)
lifesavers (hard candy, not gummies)
mamba fruit chews
mary janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
mike and ikes
nabisco oreos
now and later
nutter butter bites
panda licorice
paul newman's orange dark chocolate
pure fun chocolate meltdowns
pure fun fruit rocks
red vines
ring pops
rose city vegan chocolates
sjaak's chocolate
sjaak's peanut butter bites
skittles (except for crazy cores)
sorbee butterscotch lites
sour jacks
sour patch kids
squirrel nut zippers
starburst (jellybeans and hard candies)
sunkist fruit gems
super bubble
surf sweets fruity bears
swedish fish
sweet tarts
tropical source chocolate bars
whizzers chocolate beans
yummy earth gummy worms


does anyone actually get prizes from these blog giveaways?

the answer is YES!

most important rule:
after you have been contacted by email,
make sure you respond in the designated time!

ALWAYS read the terms and conditions beneath the rafflecopter or website--
some websites don't let people from the same household enter!
this means that if your roommate or sister already entered from your IP address,
they might delete your entries!
(not on my blog though! roommates and whoever lives with you can enter, too!)

also, check that the pictures in the blog post are relevant to the prize being offered.  
you may see countless pictures of diamond rings, but if you read the last sentence, 
they are giving away thumbtacks, not diamonds lol.

ALWAYS check to see if they are covering prize shipping!
if you win a gift card to an online store,
more than likely you will have to pay for item shipping after you redeem it.
it is pretty rare for gift cards to cover shipping costs.

and lastly, make sure if you enter multiple giveaways, that your entries aren't being wasted.
some blogs only allow you to win one prize in a certain period of time.
(not here!-- you can enter every giveaway and try to win as many as you can!)

some of the stuff i have won from blog giveaways:
*kindle fire
*nail polish
*indie nail polish
*make-up brushes
*body wash and scrub
*a vegan conscious box
*dog lover's cravebox
*vegan cookie sampler box
*custom compact
*awesome rings
*giant box of samples
*baby bedding
*baby onesies
*hair ties
*coupons for free food
*personalized jewelry

*gift certificates
*ad space
*web design help
*coupon for almond milk
*discount coupon for a diamond candle
*kid's halloween shirt
*baby eczema cream
*dog bandana
*baby sling
*handmade candles

*custom reusable sandwich bag
*handmade cat toys
*8" bundt cake
*handmade bib
*handmade cat toys
*vegan cookbook
*make-up wipes
*custom painting

*argan oil
*nail striping tape

some of my friends win tons of electronics-type items.  
you just have to look and enter contests for what appeals to you.

make sure you also keep the original "you won!" email and keep track of what you have received.  it is common courtesy to email the host back and thank them and let them know when you received your item.  some of us worry that you never get anything!

if you DON'T receive an item, let the person know in a polite manner-- sometimes it is NOT their fault.  they may just be hosting the giveaway, and forwarding your information to a sponsor.  just let them know so that they can contact whoever is involved.  sometimes the sponsors are just overloaded. this has only happened to me once... i won a box of sponsored prizes and never received a thing-- but it was NOT the hosts fault. sometimes it happens and you have to shrug your shoulders and move on.


p.s.  you can follow me on twitter
if you wanna see all the giveaways i enter.
i am a giveaway hound (especially indie nail polish)

Monday, October 22, 2012

tuna salad... without using crumbled tofu

the three times that i have had tuna salad that i didn't make myself,
it has been some weird tofu mash-nayonaise-lemon-dill crap
that was less than appetizing..

the texture, first of all, was a major put-off.

and why so much dill? hmmmm...

so, since my son and i are having mock tuna salad for lunch, 

i thought i would share the recipe with you guys.

it is protein-packed, delicious, kid-approved, and doesn't taste
like an accident in the dill factory.



  • a can of chickpeas / garbanzo beans
  • vegenaise
  • your favorite brand of gluten-free pickle, chopped into small pieces
    (or if you don't care, any pickle will do)
  • small package of seaweed snacks, crumbled and chopped into bits
    (like trader joes or seasnax)
  • a food processor
    (i use a cheap $18 ninja, and it works just great)
  • sea salt, optional-- i don't use any

  • drain your chickpeas, and dump them in your food processor
  • add vegenaise to taste-- i add about three tablespoons.  i advise you add a little at a time as you food process, until you get the consistency and flavor you want.
  • add some of your crumbled seaweed. once again, add a little at a time until you like your result. i add about half of one of those snack packets. 
  • turn on the food processor! stop to check on your amount of vegenaise and seaweed.  you want it to have some texture, like tuna, don't process it into tuna hummus!
  • dump your tuna mix into a bowl and mix into your chopped pickle.  i have discovered that it is better to add the pickle after you use the food processor or everything will taste wayyyy too pickle-y.
  • you can add salt if you want, but i never think it needs it.
  • eattt!  my one year old LOVES it.

additional notes
  • you can add kelp powder instead of seaweed snacks, but i like the taste and texture of the toasted snacks better!
  • you can opt to use relish instead of a pickle, but i find relish too sweet, and i am kinda addicted to kosher pickles.
  • onion is also an option!  even scallions!  it is really a matter of taste!
  • you can also add celery! i am personally not a fan, but i know it is a popular add-in to tuna salad.
  • if you are one of those people who like dijon or mustard in your tuna, add it! the great thing about these recipes is that there is plenty of room for experimentation!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

labeling recipes

i am going to start labeling recipes (just have to figure out WHERE exactly) as either...

  gluten-free, obviously

 kid friendly, or geared more for kids than adults

 vegan & vegetarian

 just vegetarian, not vegan

what do you guys think?  
should i put it at the very top of each post, the very bottom, 
or right before i start typing the ingredients?

comment or email me and tell me what you recommend!

p.s. thanks to artsy anthropology for the labels =]

Saturday, October 20, 2012

the best "bœuf bourguignon" i have ever had

first off, it is not my recipe.

it is an amazing recipe by twitter co-founder, biz stone, and his wife.

he made it on an episode of martha stewart, and it looked sooo amazing,
i had to try it. i am so happy i did.

p.s. the "bacon" mushroom topping is good on ANYTHING!

i am going to copy it right off the site for you...
you can thank me later!

oh, and the only thing i did differently was that i used gardein beefless tips 

instead of regular seitan.


2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 (1/2-pound) packages traditional-flavored seitan, broken into bite-size pieces
  • 4 shallots, minced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 (750 mL) bottle pinot noir
  • 1 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 15 pearl onions, fresh or frozen, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Mushroom "Bacon" Topping <--click for recipe


  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add seitan and cook, stirring, until seitan is browned and caramelized on all sides. Reduce heat and add shallots, carrots, and garlic; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.
  • Transfer seitan mixture to a large saucepan; add wine and enough stock to just cover seitan mixture. Add parsley, bay leaves, thyme, and pearl onions; cover and bring to a simmer until vegetables are tender. Transfer seitan, carrots, and onions to a large serving bowl; set aside and keep warm.
  • In a small bowl, mix together flour and margarine. Add flour mixture to saucepan, stirring until well combined. Let sauce simmer, uncovered, until it reaches a gravy-like consistency. Remove bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.
  • Pour sauce over seitan in serving bowl; garnish with mushroom "bacon" topping and parsley. Serve.

    Saturday, October 6, 2012

    vegan devil-ish eggs

    i was pretty tired of people bringing deviled eggs to my get-togethers and saying,
    "oh you can't have these, but i brought deviled eggs!"
    uh, thanks.....?!
    so i decided to make my own.
    This may be the easiest thing on the planet to make!
    bring them to your next cookout or party!  


    (maria-style, with no exact measurements)

    • two cans of whole new potatoes
      (or ball-ball taters as my boyfriend and his brother call them)
    • vegenaise
    • vegan bacon bits
    • your favorite paprika or powdered chipotle pepper 
    • tumeric
    • sea salt
    • yellow mustard 
    • melon baller with a very small scoop
    • piping bag or plastic baggie you can cut the corner off of

    • uhh open the cans of potatoes, genius…
    • slice the larger potatoes in half
    • any skinny or smaller potatoes should be cut so one side is thicker.
      (you wanna try to get at least one "egg half" out of each)
    • take the melon baller and scoop out small holes in the potato halves for the “filling”.
    • place the scooped out pieces, smaller pieces, weird halves, and broken pieces into a small bowl.
    • add vegenaise, and blend in a food processor. only add enough to get the mixture semi-creamy. you want to be able to add your other ingredients!
    • add tumeric for a little yellow color-- it only takes a few dashes, but you can add as much as you like.
    • add a touch of yellow mustard for tanginess if you choose, and process again.
    • add bacon bits and sea salt to taste, process, taste, process, you got it. 
    • add more vegenaise until you get your perfect creamy consistency and taste!
    • pipe the “egg mixture” into your scooped out potatoes.
    • sprinkle paprika or chipotle on top.
    • EAT EAT EAT...  AND EAT! 

    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    my favorite shops giveaway #1

    i L-O-V-E artallnight on etsy. 

    the colors are so bright and vibrant, 
    and the hand painted designs are beyond kick ass!

    it is one of those stores where you will 
    want EVERYTHING that is for sale! i mean... WOW! 
    there are so many incredible pieces to choose from!

    the shop has amazingly priced earrings, rings, hair clips, bracelets, pins, necklaces-- even pet tags!  

    they are all superbly crafted and guaranteed to be conversation starters! 

    the shop owner will also do minor customizations
    (chain length, product color, etc) 
    at no extra cost!  how amazing is that?!

    i know i am gushing, 
    but i seriously adore these items and own several myself... 
    (and will buy many more in the future!! )

    it is without a doubt, 
    one of my all time favorite etsy shops!
    and i can't wait for you to check it out!

    i love it so much i am having a rafflecopter giveaway (yay!) so that one of you can own a piece of this uniquely beautiful artisan jewelry!

    but first...


    ♥ emma lee of artallnight 

    how would you describe your shop?
    I would describe my shop as pop culture, tattoo inspired jewelry. 
    For the girl who wants something flashy and bold.

    when did you start crafting? 
    I have been crafting since I was young, but as far as making jewelry, 
    probably after college, when I was about 24.

    what inspires you?
    I'm inspired by all things pop culture. The big, bold, gaudy even. 
    Of course I really enjoy the color and beauty of tattoo art too 
    so that also contributes to my ideas.

    favorite piece ever made?
    Favorite piece I ever made had to be the tribute to my favorite fat cat, Garfield. 
    I made a necklace that was a tribute to the Garfield Halloween special,
     featuring Odie with a pumpkin on his head and Garfield dressed up in pirate attire.

    describe yourself in three words.
    quirky, fun, clumsy.

    you are easily described as drop dead gorgeous, 
    whats your beauty secret?
    Oh well thank you. Beauty secret, well I'm going to be 32 in two months, 
    I never smoked, drink plenty of water, exfoliate, sunscreen everyday, 
    and to top it off I use those cheap Freeman masks that you can find at Walgreens,
     really does wonders for acne, tightens the pores and is so affordable!

    favorite color?

    favorite band(s)? 
    I'm all over the board, Descendents, Social Distortion, 
    Jesus and Mary Chain, No Doubt, Bosstones, Hagfish, Ramones, 
    Turbonegro, Manic Street Preachers, M83... too many to name!

    favorite movie(s)?
    Movies, again all over the board. 
    Caddyshack, Animal House, Shutter Island, Goodfellas, the Departed, 
    Superbad, the Avengers, Office Space, Art School Confidental

    three things that drive you crazy.
    bad drivers, early mornings and snow.

    any final words?
    Thanks Maria for giving me this chance to showcase my shop 
    and remember, dare to be different, it's fun! 

    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    vegan eggplant lasagne

    i normally batter and salt and lemon my own eggplant cutlets, but i decided to experiment with dominex brand eggplant (found in the frozen aisle of your grocery store) and see how it would turn out... it was amazing!

    sorry no pics.. as soon as i take it out of the oven, its GONE.

    (maria-style, with no exact measurements)

    • two packages of dominex frozen eggplant cutlets - do not thaw
      (i found this at my local grocery store in the healthy section of
      the frozen food aisles)
    • one package of extra firm "italian" seasoned tofu
    • one package of tofutti better than cream cheese
    • vegenaise, 
      roughly 1 to 2 tablespoons 
      (this is optional, but will make your filling creamier)
    • nutritional yeast 
      (to taste)
    • plain soy milk or almond milk
      (not vanilla…!)
    • vegan parmesan 
    • sea salt
      (to taste)
    • garlic powder or minced garlic
    • baby spinach
    • one jar of your favorite marinara sauce
    • two packages (or more, your choice) of follow your heart vegan mozzarella or your favorite brand, shredded
    • olive oil, just a touch to rub around your casserole dish
    • preheat oven to 350*
    • in a large bowl, crumble your tofu. add the entire tub of tofutti cream cheese. 
    • add nutritional yeast, vegan parm, and sea salt to taste.
    • mash and mix the ingredients together until you get something starting to resemble dry ricotta.
    • mix in half of one package of your shredded follow your heart mozzarella.
    • add a a dollop of plain soy milk and a tablespoon or more of the vegenaise to make the mixture creamier. you still want it fairly firm... you just want to make it spreadable.
    • add garlic and mix.  this is optional due to the fact that some marinara sauces are loaded with garlic and you don't want to overload your casserole.
    • take your olive oil-greased casserole dish, and add a thin layer of marinara sauce.
    • add the frozen eggplant in a layer to cover the bottom. break up a few pieces in smaller slices to cover more area if need be.
    • spread the ricotta mixture generously across the eggplant. 
    • sprinkle some of the follow your heart shreds on top. 
    • add a thin layer of spinach leaves.
    • add another layer of marinara sauce.
    • add your next eggplant layer.
    • add your next layer of tofu mix.
    • another layer of follow your heart shreds, another layer of spinach leaves, and another layer of marinara.
    • the casserole dish i use (a corningware casserole dish) is just about full at this point. i top it off with the rest of the follow your heart shreds, and a sprinkle of vegan parm. i then add a few spinach leaves on top.
    • cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven until heated through. take off the foil and let the top get bubbly and melty, then remove from the oven. 
    • plate it up
    • EAT EAT EAT...  AND EAT!