Tag Archives: tempeh

Appetite for Reduction: A Review

I feel so refreshed. Rejuvenated. Reassured.

Like I’m running through fields of daisies on a sunny, blue-skied summer day.

errr….what? Okay, so maybe that’s a little bit dramatic. But really, as soon as I read the first two pages of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s new book, Appetite for Reduction, I just about took a huge sigh of relief.

As you may recall, my last cookbook purchase left me, to put it lightly, underwhelmed. I didn’t waste very long jumping on my computer and finding one to soothe my disgruntled feelings towards said book, and I knew Isa would have something for me. Truth be told, I don’t know why I didn’t just get it from the get-go, because when I saw the same author of my beloved Veganomicon had an even newer book out that had previously slipped under my radar, I was jumping in my seat with excitement.

I realize I could have been playing with fire; after all, Skinny Bitch was a “diety” type book, and here I was buying Appetite for Reduction – “125 Fast and Filling Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.” What am I trying to do here, watch my weight?!

Well, no. But I usually appreciate a health conscious book, and had faith that Isa (first-name basis) would have a much better attitude about it than Skinny Bitch. After all, this is the spunky, funny author from Veganomicon, you know.

Reading the preface, I knew I made the right decision. You can see for yourself – Isa isn’t pushing beliefs on anybody…

…and rather, being healthy to “enjoy food, enjoy life, and do what makes you feel good.” These recipes are not restrictions. They are not “diety.” And the message is not that you need to be skinny to be healthy. It is that different things work for different people, and everybody has her choice. And this just so happens to be what works for her, and boy am I glad…because the recipes she shares in this book?


I couldn’t find a single uninteresting recipe, and even though the vegan mastermind has written multiple books in the past, myself already owning two of them, I don’t feel like I’ve “seen them before.” There are classics. There are funky twists on classics. There are new creations and there are comfort foods. And they are good for you.

The feeling I get is that Isa isn’t necessarily trying to make these meals low-fat…but rather, realizing that excess oil, sugar and unrefined carbs are easily replaced – and so, if it’s a benefit to all involved and there is absolutely no loss in the final dish, why not “lighten up”?

It was difficult for me to narrow it down to a single recipe to make, but reading Isa’s explanation of each dish helped. For this Tempeh Helper recipe, she shared her nostalgic memories of Hamburger Helper as a child, and it flashed me back to being younger and helping with boxed dinners, too. With those memories in mind, I knew what I wanted for dinner.

Tempeh Helper! Creamy, “cheesy,” “hamburger”-y deliciousness.

…except, I imagine this to be way “more better,” as they say in these parts. Mo’ betta’ if you’re like me.

This recipe incorporated tempeh as the hamburg, and a nooch sauce as the cheesey sauce. The nooch sauce was way mo’ betta’ than the sketchy plasticy, yellow cheese that you get from hamburger helper, and of course the tempeh was much more animal friendly than some ground beef 😉 Not to mention the fact that there are fresh vegetables rather than freeze dried.

What I love most about this book? There is no calling for random, specific ingredients that one would rarely have, or random pre-made ingredients that you’d rather make yourself. This cheese sauce consisted of nutritional yeast (okay, now that I think about it, maybe that is a random ingredient…but I think a lot of vegans are at least in the know of it!) garlic powder, flour, water and a couple other seasonings.

Nowhere in the book was there call for vegan mayonnaise, but if you’d like to make your own, there is a recipe.

I can’t find a recipe calling for vegan cheese,

and nor can I find a recipe calling for vegan cream cheese.


When all was said and done, this was a delicious meal, and even my mom liked it. I don’t think she knows what tempeh or nutritional yeast is no matter  how many times I tell her, but sometimes ignorance is best.

After all, it’s only after I’m asked what tempeh is that I’ll say it’s fermented soybeans. If we’re taught all our life to avoid fermented products, how’s it look to someone else when I say I’m eating fermented soybeans?

But that’s irrelevant. Back to the matter at hand.

I can’t sing enough praise for Isa’s Appetite for Reduction, and believe it may be my new favorite. But still, to be fair, I’ll pick it apart in pros and cons, just like I did for Skinny Bitch.


  • Wide array of recipes, each feeling like they’re adding something to the pot. You won’t find recipes that have been published a thousand times before.
  • No calling for random, ridiculously expensive or hard to find ingredients.
  • No reliance on products like vegan cheese, vegan meat (except homemade seitan), vegennaise, tofutti, etc.
  • Majority are easy and quick to prepare.
  • Nutritional information, which could be a con for some people, I understand. However, the cool thing is that you aren’t just told calories, protein, fat, sodium, etc. This book also includes iron, vitamin c and other vitamins and minerals, too!
  • Inexpensive. And most of the recipes are, too!


  • Show nutritional information for each recipe (see above)
  • No dessert/snack/breakfast recipes, which isn’t too terribly unappealing to me seeing as how I’ve got plenty of other resources and not to mention the fact this is the same woman who authored Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar and VCTOW, but a healthy snack recipe or two are never overlooked in my book 😉
  • With 125 recipes, there’s 125 new recipes I want to make now, so it’ll take me a year to get around to making everything. (As you can tell, I’m really grasping at straws to find more cons here…)

Do you own this book? If so, what should I make next?!

What’s a childhood meal you remember helping to make?


Filed under review, Uncategorized

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Day 1 of the Deep Freeze:

obviously not spent at the barn. This will be a weekend that is intended for curling up with a hot cup of something and watching the Bruins slaughter the Avalanche. Avalanches? The Avs, we’ll leave it at that.

Unless I’m at Hannaford’s, I guess. My mom and I both had to do some work in town and then pick up something in the “big town” (I know that sounds corny, I’m just refraining from naming places!) so I ran into Hannaford’s for some sweet potatoes…

…but Amaranth flour found its way in my basket when I saw it “bargain priced to move” at $1.99. I don’t pass up bargain flours that I haven’t tried yet. Even if I’ve never even had amaranth as a grain before.

The irony? When I got home, I was reading through my comments on yesterday’s post with buckwheat flour, to discover my flour infatuation is rather well-known to you guys, too.

Look at how much iron it has, though!

Anyways. I haven’t used it yet and probably won’t even open it up for another couples…weeks…but I just found it ironic I suppose.

I did, however, make more sweets today. Cookies for the fam. We have a lot of desserts in the house right now, but they keep getting gobbled up so I’ll keep making them.

Which is probably the reason why I do try and make an effort to make stuff at least a little bit healthier if it’s possible. I don’t want to be blamed for making my loved ones unhealthy, so it’s my way of being able to continuously keep baking things I guess 😉

Which is why it’s going to be our little secret that I didn’t actually follow the recipe for the cookies that were requested, and instead followed Angela’s Ultimate Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe instead. The “requested recipe” was one that was an advertisement in a Rachel Ray magazine for Ocean Spray Craisins. It wasn’t that bad a recipe…but I think it was more of a “I like the process of finding a recipe rather than following one given to me.” sort of thing.

And yes, I baked with Angela’s printed-off recipe snugged in the magazine so it would look like I was following the magazine should anyone walk in the kitchen.

Ironically, I sort of unhealthified it, but mainly because I was feeling cheap and didn’t want to use the last of my coconut oil or maple syrup for something I wasn’t baking for myself.

Go ahead and call me selfish, I know.

That and, obviously, I needed to use cranberries. Raisins would just be a dead giveaway that I didn’t follow the other recipe, y’know?

The swaps:

  • 3/4 c. all purpose flour in place of Kamut
  • scant 1/2 c. brown sugar (the alternative suggested for Sucanat)
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup rather than 1/2 c.
  • 2 T. cow’s milk
  • 3.5 T. butter vs. coconut oil
  • 2/3 c. dried cranberries vs. raisins

I realize it probably seems contradictory to talk about using butter when I previously said I tried making things healthier – but I should probably clarify that I really don’t have any problems with butter or anything labeled “unhealthy.” I just don’t like to use a ton of it. And less than 4 tablespoons for 20 cookies is pretty marginal, if you ask me.

Alright alright. You’re sick of the cookie pictures. In case you were wondering, though, they were a serioius hit. And they smell amazing whilst baking. I think it was all the walnut meal and maple syrup.

Onto other, really unattractive things. I have the most difficult time photographing sweet potatoes and curries. The color just makes my WB go crazy, and it doesn’t help that I am so. sick. of having to use my flash to photograph anything that’s not lunch.

…which is just about everything, these days.

Being that my mom and I got home from town sort of late, I didn’t have time to have my daily sweet potato for lunch.

You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.

And so that meant only one thing: I had to make up for it at dinner.

Normally I’m pretty content just eating them plain, but decided I’d live life on the edge tonight. And stuff it. I had a stuffed sweet potato kick sometime last year, and they really are delicious.

I know it’s easy to slice into a fresh oven-baked sweetie and want to just eat it plain right then and there – but please, every so often…give the sweetie the love and time it deserves! Here’s one way 😉

Curry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 medium-large sweet potato (try and choose a round one versus a long skinny one!)
  • 1/2 a red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 a medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3/4 c. diced white mushrooms
  • 1/4 a block of tempeh, diced (or chickpeas or tofu or ground beef, for all I care)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 T. curry powder, depending on your taste (I used a heaping 1/2 T. of a sweet-ish curry)
  • 1/2 t. honey
  • salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 425* and poke the sweet potato a couple of times. Bake for an hour, or until tender – when I knife can slide through it.

About half an hour into cooking, prepare your filling: in a small pan over medium heat, preheat your olive oil. Add in the onion and sautee until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and sautee one more minute. Add in the mushrooms and red pepper and allow to cook until all of the liquid has been cooked out of the mushrooms. Stir in the tempeh and then the curry powder and honey. If necessary, add a tablespoon or two of water at this point.

Once the potato has cooked, cut in half and very gently scoop out the insides, leaving 1/4 – 1/2″ around the outside. Chop the sweet potato you’ve scooped out and mix in with the filling. Spoon the filling back into the sweet potato and enjoy!

I’ve always been a fan of sweet potatoes and curry powder. If you’re hesitant, don’t be! It’s a lovely balance of flavors.

…or maybe I’m just weird. I’ve never been one to want to slather almond butter or maple syrup on my sweet potato, after all 😉


Filed under cookie, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, food blog, healthy living, recipe, sweet potato, sweet potatoes, tempeh, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian, veggies

Hummus Crepes

UHHH…apparently I’m a little…greedy.

21″ computer screen sounds totally reasonable, right? Larger than most, even?

But bigger is better, right? Go big or go home? So why not just get the 27″ screen, right?

I’ll show you why not – because 27 inches of computer screen is totally unnecessary and no one needs a computer that large. This could serve as my television, for Pete’s sake! Oh, well.

I’ll probably have a crick in my neck for the first week of iMaceration (uh, that was intended to be the conglomeration of the words iMac and operation, but it turned into maceration, as in to chew, not as in iMac operation as intended.) but at least I finally have my iMac, after years of threatening to throw my “i-hate-life” PC off the deck after working with the happy-go-lucky Macs at work and school all day.

…but of course there’s the desk dilemma, and since ms. Mac has no place to live until Thursday, she’s living in her cardboard box and I’m using my mom’s i-hate-life PC still.

Name suggestions for the new baby are welcome.

How does one celebrate new motherhood? Hummus crepes, that’s how.

Because the only thing better than hummus in its’ natural form is hummus in crepe form. d’Oh.

I saw the idea for hummus flatbread while I was browsing Food Network magazine last weekend. I’ve been sort of phasing out of bread lately for reasons unbeknownst to me, but there are still times that call for a bread-like-vessel. Like today. When I arrived home from the barn, I was hangry, and really wanted to try the hummus flatbread but didn’t have the patience to flip through my giant blue-binder-of-recipes where the recipe resided.

So, I just mixed some hummus with some flour, nooch and water and prayed to the hummus Gods that it would at least sort of work. The worst that could happen was I’d have hummus mush, right? Not so bad, right?

Alright, so I got too zealous withthe fillings to make a real wrap – but it still worked! And was pretty amazing. It actually got crispy, which I wasn’t sure would happen. Crispy on the outside, with a creamy hummus inside. el perfecto! Next time I’d probably just use a bit larger of portions so I can get a full wrap 😉

I whisked together 3 T. forty spice hummus, 2 T. oat flour, 1/2 T. nutritional yeast and probably 3 T. water while preheating a skillet over medium heat. Greased the skillet with a little earth balance before pouring on the hummus mixture and spreading it out pretty thin. Before flipping, spray the top with a little cooking spray so it doesn’t stick. Cook until golden on both sides.

The mixture should be similar to the consistency of a crepe – not too runny, not too thick.

And remember how last time the B’s playedI mentioned how I almost made Boston baked beans to jingle good vibes? Well, I didn’t end up making them. And they didn’t end up winning.

They play Montreal tonight so I knew jingles were necessary. Enter: Veganomicon’s cheater baked beans. I entertained the thought of another recipe, bt if there’s one thing I’ve learned about baked beans, it’s that you dn’t mess with a good thing.

To be honest, I don’t know what classifies baked beans as Boston or otherwise, but lets hope this works.

Or maybe you can hope it doesn’t – because if they win tonight I’ll probably decide eating baked beans every night we have a game is the way to go. Not only will you guys get sick of seeing baked beans, but my family will probably get sick of me eating said baked beans.

I don’t think I’d get tired of eating them, though.

I feel like all I talk about lately is hockey and Mac computers. Maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about how I found Teddie dressed up in a penguin outfit today.

(p.s. You have until noon tomorrow to enter the date syrup giveaway!)


Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch, recipe

U R 16

I loved all the different answers to the resolution question!! Seems some of us love them and some of us hate them.

I have nothing against resolutions, but at the same time, don’t like the thought of needing an “excuse” to set goals. If I want to work on improving something, I should work on it when the thought strikes, not wait until the turn of the year!

..that said, I’m really awful at taking my vitamins and calcium and so it’s my “resolution” to work on that.

In case you were wondering, I’m failing already.

Yes, Eeyore and a stuffed german shephard sit above my bed.

I mentioned yesterday how my mom and I painted my room. Not a lot of thought went into the process, we just grabbed some leftover paint in the back room and green it was. The “organizing and re-doing” continued into today after seeing Teddie.

Am I the only one who feels guilty throwing away cards? I do, I can’t help it! It was rather cmical digging through the shelves in my closet that I forgot I had.

Now I’m just on the hunt for a computer desk for mr. iMac! It’s proving to be easier said than done…I guess I didn’t think of that aspect when I made the decision to get the 27″ screen vs. the 21″.

I won’t regret it when I can count the pores on my client’s faces this year.

Wait, is that a creepy thing to say? Sort of. Either way, I’m more anxious for this mac to get here than a two year old is on Christmas morning.

All the organizing was made better by the thoughts of what was gettin’ sappy in my oven. Susan mentioned a little bit ago how much more superior oven-baked sweet potatoes are than microwave baked, which made me realize I’m more apt to roast sweet potatoes “low and slow” rather than just throw them in the oven whole. Um, yeah, won’t be making that mistake again. After splitting that baby open and dipping in hummus or BBQ sauce, I was in. heaven. Paired with some BBQ tempeh to get my protein on.

Ever since buying this local tempeh, I don’t think I can ever go back to Lightlife. Same goes for the local tofu I had – never going back to Nasoya!

That’s not to say I didn’t make a total bomb of a meal with it the other day, though. This Kung-Pao tempeh was dreadful.

I do this all the time: want to think I like some sort of cuisine/flavor/what-have-you, and even though I know I don’t, convince myself to try it anyway.

I wanted to believe I would like Chinese if I made it myself, so I followed a recipe in Cooking Light for Kung Pao Chicken, simply swapping the chix for tempeh.

I hated it. And I don’t use “hate” lightly. I liked the fact that it was over bulgur. And I liked the fact that I decided to add peas. And I liked the fact that it has peanuts on top. The onions and the sauce? Hated. with. a. passion. Didn’t help that I made a batch for two meals out of it, so I was just trying to choke down the tempeh and not wasting it.

Someone come make me Chinese that I’d like. I don’t think I hate it all because I remember having this peanut-chicken dish in Boston once that I enjoyed. It was at a “real” Chinese restaurant though, which are few and far between around here. And I very strongly dislike soy sauce.

Moving on.

Never, never did I ever think Guy Fieri would encourage me to make something. But, I’ve been buying more magazines lately due to the computer sitch, and the FoodNetwork Magazine made its’ way to the register with me yesterday.

I’ve nothing against the man, but I think it’s safe to say that our cooking perspectives differ slightly.

When I saw he had a recipe for pretzels, though, I had to give it a try.

For a little while, I thought I’d be blogging about two failed recipes…

…because I sort of struggled with the recipe directions. I’m not sure if they were incorrect, but it never stated that they were supposed to rise? But that didn’t make much sense to me, so I went ahead and let them rise once after forming the original dough. Even after, I was expecting to be making pretzels the size of my face, not pretzels the size of a Rold-Gold mini.

Luckily, they got a little larger during baking. I don’t think it helped that I accidentally used just about all white whole wheat. Again, the destructions tricked me.

My mom asked why they didn’t look like Guy’s and my response was simply because I’m not cool enough to be Guy. So maybe they didn’t come out perfect, but remarkably, they were received well and enjoyed by all of us.

I almost made English muffins again, but then I thought that soft pretzels would be perfect for tonight’s game. Yes, I was thinking to make a giant pretzel in the “B” logo, but totally forgot until after they were all formed. Official fail of the NHL. Whatever.

Did you make any resolutions this year?

What’s your favorite soft pretzel “dip”? I love dipping them in honey mustard! I’ll probably give hummus a try, too 😉


Filed under cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, health food, healthy living, lunch

Identity Crisis

Our weather is having a identity crisis.

Late last week? 10-15 degree days and nights. Unseasonably cool.

This past weekend? 40’s and raining. Unseasonably warm.

Today? The identity crisis has spread to the precipitation, dropping upon us a random mish-mash of rain, then snow, and then a combination of the two.

Why, of course I love you, sleet and freezing rain – the ditch is such a fun place to be, don’t you know?!

Luckily, I survived another treacherous journey home, even if I did have a car wanting to drive up my bum behind me. There were a few choice words muttered and maybe a couple of ill wishes wished – but I’d rather keep my relatively innocent appearance and not share them with you here.

The good news is that it’s now all turned to snow (to devishly hide the icey roads underneath) with 6” by morning. And more to come all this week.

Iiiiiiii’m dreaminggggg of a whiiiiite christmassss.


Anyways. Speaking of identity crisises – one recipe I followed this weekend was one for tempeh bacon. Because I am obviously deprived of any sort of real food, including real bacon, by not eating meat and this is my body’s way of rebelling against my beliefs.

Gosh, this post is brimming with sarcasm. Sorry!

I’m actually a little bit turned off by non-meat foods pretending to be meat…if it’s too close to tasting like meat, that is. I’ve found I don’t mind so much if it’s a seasoning replication, though – hence why I’ve become a little bit infatuated with fennel seed lately, but that’s irrelevant to this tempeh bacon. I’m not even making sense with my reasoning right now, though, so I figure the irrelevance is okay, too.


I think getting to use liquid smoke was the only reason this recipe fascinated me. I couldn’t quite wrap my head around smoke…being liquid…in a bottle. The marinade was a combination of apple cider, liquid smoke, soy sauce and garlic.

Although… this “bacon” was a bit of a miss for me. Luckily, it’s not making me feel like I’m mowing down on some pork bacon, but I’m not a fan of the seasoning, I guess. Or maybe the texture of the tempeh paired with the seasonings. I have a feeling I’d prefer this recipe used on boiled tempeh rather than raw and then pan-fried.

Gasp – I boil my foods? How on earth do I ever meet my nutritional requirements? It’s a wonder I’m still alive to type this – and a bit full of myself, tonight, too!


But, I am not complaining. I’m just so glad I have so many meals/pieces of meals prepared for the week – today was ridiculously busy and I have a feeling I’ll be working all week again, so long as I don’t have final exams interfering. Today, I worked through my normal morning snack, had lunch when I usually have my afternoon snack, and worked away the afternoon, too. I do love when the day flies by like that, though. Before I know it, I’m on my way home.

Home to you guys, who I’ve probably shooed away by my fake bacon and sarcasm.

I mean, think about it – even my food (tempeh bacon) is a sarcastic poke and prod at the real deal! (real bacon)


By the way – see that bread? Another identity crisis. I was supposed to shape this loaf as a baguette but shushed that direction. Instead I left it as an oval. And wound up baking a nice little frisbee:


If you ask me, it’s karma from being so proud of my bread making “skills” a while ago. Ironically – this is supposed to be the “easy” bread. Just stir and refrigerate! I think I added too much water, though. I quartered the recipe and ran into trouble when I had to quarter 3 3/4 cups of water. Eventually, my reasoning was: “well, that’s almost 4 cups – so I’ll just use almost 1 cup!” Uhh…yeah. I should work on my math if I want to keep playing in the kitchen.

At least it still tastes good. I feel like I say that about ugly quasi-fails too often…but at least it’s true. If it weren’t, I’d be the first to complain about “having to choke down this God-awful bread.”

“Fake” meats – yay or nay? I was a big fan when I first stopped eating meats – the soy chicken (I highly recommend Quorn!) and stuff – but now I just get freaked out if something tastes too much like meat. Although I still enjoy seitan, which is pretty meaty! I guess I just don’t make sense any way you put it. (And I’m not talking veggie burgers – I don’t think they’re even remotely close to tasting like meat…they just happen to be in burger form. I could make a burger out of bananas, and that’s not trying to taste like meat. Anyone wanna have a banana burger challenge with me?)


Filed under dinner, lunch, tempeh