Tag Archives: appetite for reduction

Our semi-homeade Thanksgiving

We had a surprisingly good Thanksgiving considering half the dishes were store-bought. Since we live in Austin and have so many wonderful vegan friendly companies it shouldn’t have been so shocking. I mean, is there anything the Wheatsville co-op can’t do? The only real disappointment I had was the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute which is made by Field Roast.

I love hazelnuts, cranberries, and filo dough but none of those tastes really came through for me in the roast. It just seemed like a giant seitan sausage which would have been fine except it was thanksgiving! Next time I will buy Mr. Natural’s roast or just get a tofurkey if I can’t make my own roast like I usually do. The star of our show is always the stuffing and this year was the best ever, I found this “Diner Dressing” recipe in Vegan Diner, I think on Thanksgiving day and it sounded a lot like my Mom’s so we tried it out (sans cranberries) it was absolute perfection and most of our dinner conversation was about why we only have stuffing once a year. The other big standout of the day was the cranberry orange dressing which I bought at Wheatsville. It had slices of almonds and was easily the best cranberry sauce I ever had. We both absolutely loved it. I’m glad I got the giant container!We also had the cauliflower mashed potatoes from “Appetite for Reduction” and though I usually adore these, for Thanksgiving I should have stuck with the traditional kind with a half cup of earth balance because they didn’t seem quite right. I can’t wait to make mashed potato pancakes with them though. We had gravy to go with them of course so I shouldn’t complain about the added health of the cauliflower! They were still really good!We also had miso glazed brussels sprouts, like we always do but with onions because I forgot shallots at the store. The were tasty as always. We are kind of Brussels sprouts fanatics in my house so I am glad there is some still leftover.Here is my plate in all it’s glory. I did not have any room left in my belly for pie, but I ate some anyway.We got out pie from Kristen of Sugar-Skull and it was so so good. I loved the crust, and the filling… and the whip cream. It went so well with coffee for breakfast the next day. It’s almost 24 hours later and I still don’t want to eat. Oh, Thanksgiving, how I love thee. This year I am especially thankful to Dan for putting everything together while I lounged in the hammock. Check out his plateHappy Thanksgiving!

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Appetite For Reduction, a review

This post is part of the ppk’s 2011 cookbook challenge.

I’ll admit it there are a few things I am a fangirl about.  I realized books by Isa Chandra Moskowitz got added to the list when I knew the date that her new book was coming out and ran over to Book People to buy it rather than getting it cheaper from Amazon. I am sorry to say that this time it wasn’t because I was trying to shop local or save money. I got the book at Book People because I knew I could get it there quicker than if I ordered it. And yes, I have a million cookbooks.


Honestly, besides my fandom I was especially excited for the this cookbook because I have had a lot of trouble losing weight, even as a vegan. For one thing I eat too many fillers (rice, pasta, beer, and bagels) which all have a lot of calories. This has been hard to accept because I feel like I eat really healthy. I mean I eat kale several times a week and I am not a big sweets person or a baker. And I make almost everything from scratch. But for some people I guess it just isn’t that easy. We feed our dogs the same amount and one is perfect size and the other is always putting on pounds. Sure, some of this is because he gets into the trash, but mostly it is that they are different dogs. 

Being vegan and loving to cook different things every day also makes calorie counting so much more difficult for me. It is really easy to look up the calorie info in ready made foods and chain restaurants and enter it. Easy enough, anyway, until you die of a heart attack. It is not so easy to enter in a vegan pot pie that has a crust, a sauce, 10 vegetables that you don’t know the weight of, and random ingredients that are never in the databases like nutritional yeast and soy cream. When everything in your meal is homeade, like seitan sausages, you have to add them all too, bit by bit. Someone needs to make a vegan calorie counting site. Someone a lot smarter than me. Anyway enough complaining, I can figure it out it just takes some motivation and now Appetite for Reduction has made things so much easier because all the nutritional info is right there. It inspired me to start keeping track again and I have been very successful, losing a pound a week since I got the book. Even during Christmas! I have been using this phone app called LoseIt that is super easy to use and log things,  it is the first thing that has worked well for me since going vegan .

The book starts with a nutritional primer that was co-written with a vegan nutritionist and athlete who not only knows his stuff, but also seems to have all the most up to date info and makes it really easy to understand. I think this would be a great book for anyone starting out on a vegan diet, even if they are doing it solely for animal rights reasons or because they want to eat healthier but not necessarily lose weight.

The book is divided into sections after the nutrition bit; salads, sides, veggies, beans, tofu & tempeh, pasta, soups, curries, chilies & stews and then guides for sandwiches and bowls.  So far I have tried many of the recipes and most of them have been very successful and very filling.  Usually when a recipe says 4-6 servings I hope that it will be enough to feed my partner and I but these have actually worked well for my appetite, partially because I make a side as well. Note that my partner eats a lot and he has been having two servings of everything and I take the 4th with me for lunch the next day so your results may vary.

One of my favorite really quick and easy meals has been the buffalo tempeh with mac & trees. Although it isn’t the most photogenic recipe it was so good that I have already made it twice. Mixing broccoli made the macaroni healthier and the tempeh was just fabulous, the creamy mac & trees went just perfect with the spicy tempeh. The whole meal took less than 20 minutes start to finish.

The Arabian Lentil Soup was also really easy and made out of pantry stapels. The comforting lemon and rice mix was perfect for the dreary winter days we have been having.

The Lentil and Eggplant Chile Mole made with fresh cornbread  was very hearty my partner is a big mole fan and he really liked it. I loved the cornbread which had scallions and fresh corn inside.

I also loved the mushroom sauce in the creamy mushroom pasta. I want to put it on everything. It would be really good on the caulipots (mashed potatoes with cauliflower) recipe.

We also tried the black-eyed peas with plantains where the plantains are steamed instead of fried. They were suprisingly good!

Overall I don’t think the recipes are as omg brilliant as the ones in the Veganomicon, BUT (and this is a huge but) they are healthier, use less fat, use more vegetables, don’t have as many ingredients, and can almost all be actually prepared in 30 minutes, although some need to cook after that none of them take longer than an hour from start to finish. It is healthy, easy, tasty weeknight food. If you have the Veganomicon it is kind of like the mix and match segment turned into a whole book.

I also really like that there is information on how to steam vegetables, how to make quick bowls with your leftover dressing, and make sandwiches.

Plus it is named after a guns and roses album.

Honestly, if you were going to get just one vegan cookbook, I would say this is the one to get.

I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Pretzel Tart

I think the first sign of the Christmas season for me was when, the day after Thanksgiving, all the ice cream trucks stopped playing their usual tunes and switched over to Christmas music.

I also have a sudden and  overwhelming desire to bake cookies and make other fabulous desserts which usually I couldn’t care less about. I saw this Chocolate Pretzel Tart on pictures and pancakes and I have been kind of obsessed with veganizing it for the holidays. The picture is so beautiful.

Or maybe I will make buckeyes with a chocolaty pretzel shell.

I haven’t decided yet.

The one thing I do know is that is is really good timing for Isa’s new book “Appetite for Reduction” to come out. I can’t wait to get my hands it! Luckily she already posted some of the recipes. Last night we tried the Caribbean Curry Black-Eyed Peas with Plantains. I never would have thought steamed plantains would be so great; I have always had them baked, stewed or fried, but they worked really well in this dish.