Tag Archives: Food

Sunny Days in Texas: Recipe Roundup

I didn’t get to every recipe I wanted to try in the Sunny Days zine this month because my leg is in a cast and I still can’t walk so I have to scoot around on a walkin scooter. I am still looking forward to trying Vegan Hope‘s Stuffed Peppers and Peach Cobbler, Counter Culture‘s Fried Green Tomatoes with roasted red pepper aioli and her Daikon salad, Sugar-Skull‘s, Chickpea Tuna salad and Cowboy cookies, The Spiral Diner‘s Ranch and Wheatsville‘s Cashew Tamari Dressing, Wes‘ Boudin sausage, hummingbird cupcakes, and pralines, the Blissful Chef’s Magical Raw Tacos (I even bought all the stuff!) and nectarine cobbler smoothie, Ariane‘s Chicken Fried Tofu, any of the drinks, or Two Vegan Boys‘ Yummeos (homeade oreos)

It sure sounds like I missed a lot! Everything I did try was fantastic though! It was an intense month of Texas Eating for sure. Notice that I hardly went for any of the healthy recipes or desserts, it was almost all crazy queso filled delicious main dishes at my house this veganmofo.

Jalapeño Popper DipOatmeal Cream Pies

Nice Ass Greens

Blackened Tempeh Caesar WrapBreakfast Tacos

King Ranch CasseroleJackfruit Brisket Taco

Popcorn Tofu Po’Boy Texas Chili in Frito Pie Mexican Hot DogZucchini MigasI don’t think I could even pick a favorite. We did make the chili twice but that might be because KellyCVegan merely mentioned frito pie on twitter. I do love how easy that recipe is. I kind of want to make the Mexican Hot Dog again just so I can take a better picture, oh and because I loved it and still have some chipotle mayo.

All this deliciousness can be yours too! If you already bought a copy of the zine, thank you so much! I hope you love it and if you blog about it let me know! I would love to hear what other people think. I am still working on getting it for sale in DFW and book people but it is taking a little while. If you want to get it, the black and white versions are going to sell out very soon and after this month I’m not going to make any more. The color versions and the PDF version are welcome to you.

I would love for you to Donate to Team Sunny Day! You could win a copy of the zine, Blissful Bites, everything you need to make some Texas Chili, homemade oatmeal cream pies and pralines, and some Food For Lover’s queso. It’s the best prize package ever and not a lot of people have entered so chances are really good that you could win it all.It has been a good month! I feel so lucky to have such a fantastic vegan community here in Austin and all over the world united by a love of vegan food and animals!
Every post this month for Veganmofo will be celebrating the recipes in the zine Sunny Days in Texas, a fundraiser cookzine to help Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary.


Sunny Days in Texas, the vegan cookzine for charity, is now available!

NOTE 7/27/2018 Sunny Day Farms sadly closed down a while after this fundraiser. The zine is only available through Magcloud now and any money donated there goes to SARA animal sanctuary Texas.

“Please buy this zine, it’s for the animals”

This past summer in Texas has been brutal. We had the most 100 degree days in a row ever, the worst drought ever, and a few weeks ago much of our beautiful central Texas Hill Country was engulfed in flames. The community here in Austin has done truly amazing work. Following  Austin Pets Alive’s attempts to save all pets from Bastrop filled my heart with love for people again and on Saturday October 1st, we held a mega city wide bakesale that raised almost 13,000 dollars for relief efforts. The people, for the most part, will survive and hopefully rebuild but for the animals the fires and the drought have been completely devastating. The strangest part for me as a city dweller is that all the bugs are dead and critters have eaten my remaing cacti and succulents which are certainly not their typical food. I learned that in Texas you have to water your trees…. and your house or the foundation will crack.

At Sunny Day Farms Animal Sanctuary in La Coste the cost of taking care of all the animals, without access to grazing grass and water, has risen dramatically. Poor Brooke, who runs the farm, told me that her days are spent at the river collecting water with 5 gallon water totes. As you can imagine, watering three hundred animals everyday has definitely proved to be a challenge. The vegan community in Austin has been doing what we can to help and I have been working on putting together an awesome recipe zine to raise money. Many of Texas’ best writers and restaurants have donated Texas themed recipes to the effort and I have put together three different versions online for sale, though if you live in Austin you can pick a copy up at MonkeyWrench books and in Portland at Herbivore and Food Fight!

The zine has been a labor of love for sure, it is packed with fabulous recipes for everything from Ranch Dressing to Mexican Hot Dogs to Cowboy Cookies to Raw Tacos to Jackfruit Brisket. There are healthy recipes like Tex Mex stuffed peppers and Blackened Ceaser Tempeh wraps and then there are recipes for 40 pounds of battered and deep fried popcorn tofu, Oatmeal cream pies and homeade Oreos. It is also illustrated with pictures of Sunny Day Farm’s most adorable residents and available in several different ways.

My favorite is the full color print on demand version that also comes with a free digital download. For real, check out the preview on Mag Cloud.The sections are all color coded by type which makes it really fun to flip through and easy to find stuff and the animals are so cute you will be smooching the pages. Through the preview you can also see every recipe.

you know you want to kiss that pig

A black and white version is available on Etsy, these might take a little bit longer to ship but they are pretty much the exact same thing but in black and white on regular paper and with a different cover and I have to put each one together so really buy the color one!

Finally, if you don’t want to waste any trees feel free to email me at veganlazysmurf at gmail.com and for a 10 dollar paypal donation I will email you just the color PDF of the Mag Cloud version so you can look at it on your zune or whatever. Actually, please don’t ask me if it will work on your crazy device, it is a standard PDF file and I have an iphone so everything works like magic for me.

100 percent of the profits are going directly to the farm. If you would like to just help out without purchasing the zine please make a donation to Sunny Day on paypal to the email info@sunnydayfarms.com or sponsor an animal for a few dollars each month. Also check out the indomitable Molly’s Lonestar Plate post that includes other ways to help as well. And thanks Molly for all of your help (and the garlic stuffed olives).

For veganmofoI am planning to cook recipes from the zine all month long so stay tuned to see what all is cookin’ !

Help Sunny Day Farms!

Earlier this year I was able to volunteer at Sunny Day farms and meet some of their wonderful rescued animals, like Betty Lou the horse that was a pet until she went blind and the owners dumped her at an auction. If it wasn’t for an act of compassion she would have been shipped to Mexico where the animal slaughtering regulations aren’t has tight. I also pet Barnaby the goat who had been first rescued by animal control when they found he him chained to a tree starving, where he’d been his entire life. There were so many wonderful sweet animals and each one had a sad story with a happy end: being rescued to live in a farm animal paradise.  That is why it was even more distressing to learn that Sunny Day, which saves so many lives, is in big trouble because of the drought and onslaught of 100 degree days.

Since all the grass has dried up at Sunny Day, they are buying more hay than ever–and it was already their biggest expense. And due to the drought, the cost of hay has doubled, making an already bad situation almost impossible. The vet has already had to put one very sick horse down, and we are so worried that there will be even more casualties.

The Good News!

Texas vegans and animal-lovers have banded together with bake sales, hay bale challenges, and even a marathon fundraiser to raise whatever money we can to help these animals and there are lots of ways you can participate.

Several of Texas’ most amazing bloggers, restaurants, animal lovers, companies, and even a cookbook author donated recipes to the Sunny Days in Texas cook zine which has 30 recipes (including a world famous popcorn tofu recipe) to the zine which is going to be available at the Vida Vegan Convention, and online soon. The Black and White Version will be available soon on Etsy but an adorable color version- that includes a digital download- is on sale now. It is a little more expensive because of the cost of prinying and shipping, but I got one and I love it!.

The zine is chock-full of more than 30 recipes from ever aspect of Texas vegan cuisine, from ranch dressing to raw tacos. I am so excited to try every one of the recipes like the Blackened Ceaser Tempeh wrap, Jackfruit Brisket, King Ranch Casserole (with food for lovers queso baking in the flavor), and homemade Oreos!

It will also be sold at the vegan bakesale this Saturday at Monkeywrench books which is also benefiting Sunny Day. During the bakesale the Sue will also be donating a portion of her sales at Counter Culture so eat please join us in eating a lot of tasty vegan food to save animals!

 If you can’t make it to any of the events or want to help more check out Sunny Day’s hay bale donation program.

And thanks to everyone that donated recipes  Wes AllisonKristen Blackmore, Natala ConstantineKristen DavenportMolly FrisingerKrys KaganAriane LeverettAnjanette MartinChristy MorganSue Purr, Margot Rochon, Chris & Chrystal TateThe Spiral Diner, and Wheatsville co-op.

Springfield Springfield, it’s a hell of a town!

After an intense trip to Chicago I was excited for the short cruise down I-55 to get to my hometown Springfield Illinois where my Mom currently resides. Since my sister, my Dad, and my extended family all live in Chicagoland I rarely get to go all the way down to Springfield so I was really excited to spend the better part of the week at my Mom’s for a couple reasons.

Number 1), Mom’s glorious pool.I spent all day, every day laying in the pool soaking up the non-threatening midwest sun  and watching big fluffy clouds move across the sky. It was ideal. Since my foot is still non-functioning my Mom and my friend Keil made me delicious lunches like this barbecued eggplant sandwich with amaranth greens and sweet onions (inspired by a post on i eat trees).  Homemade pizza with garden picked tomatoes & basil

I also had my Chicago Whole Foods haul that kept me happy throughout the week, especially the green olive bread.

Number 2) Favorite restaurants

Besides getting to hang out at my Mom’s house there is another huge benefit to trips to Springfield, I also get to go to my all time favorite the restaurant, the Magic Kitchen.The magic kitchen is out on the North end of Springfield in a shack and it is a place that nearly all of my friends and family hold dear to our hearts. I checked on facebook and I got comments from friends that live in New York, Utah, Chicago, and Texas all jealous that I was at our beloved restaurant. I thought maybe I had built up the food in my head a little bit, after all, it is the first place I ever tried tofu. It is probably the first place I ever even heard of Thailand for that matter. 20 years later, nothing compares to the spicy, salty, tangy, sweet food at the Magic Kitchen. One bite made me start loving humanity all over again and I had just about given up. I love the Sweet and Sour Tofu the best, pineapples, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and mushrooms all fried to perfection in their non-sticky sauce. It is what Sweet and Sour should be.If you are ever driving through central Illinois or stopping in Springfield to check out the Abe Lincoln museum, stop in (they are closed Mondays) and let me know if you think I am being overly nostalgic or if you think it is the best Thai in the US.

We also tried a new Japanese – Thai restaurant called Osaka. It was a cute place and the Japanese menu and sushi menu both had vegetarian options but I really wanted Thai food again and was happy that they use the big fat rice noodles. Love!

I also saw that they had a martini called the “Lake Springfield” which I couldn’t resist. The lake is a hot button issue in town. We used to all swim in it as kids but it was always really polluted. At some point when I was in school there was a leptospirosis outbreak from people who were swimming in a triathlon and many people stopped swimming in it and eventually even the public beach closed. I remember even as a kid you wouldn’t dare wear a white bathing suit because it would end up green after swimming in the lake. Yuk! Even though it is all really depressing I thought it was hilarious that Osaka named their cocktail after the lake, it is good to know that someone in town has a sense of humor. It was surprisingly delicious….and definitely resembled the lake.

Number 3) Driving around

Growing up in Springfield our top activity was always driving around so I was really happy that my Mom indulged me in this activity. We went to a lot of farmstands and picked up different kinds of sweetcorn, tomatoes, peaches and anything else that looked good.

We even went to one farmstand where you can just pick out whatever you want and leave the money in a dropbox. My Mom wanted me to go though all these boxes of things from my childhood and decide if there was anything I wanted to keep. My favorite was this poem I wrote in kindergarten.I still wish all the hamsters in the world loved me and that I could talk to them.

There was a lot of stuff I just couldn’t get rid of that made it back to Austin. 

It was a good trip.

SXSW is over

I had the best time at the fest this year. Our official talk went great and I got to take Laura from Vegansaurus to all my favorite spots in town. I bet we turned hundreds of people vegan…. maybe not all that day but perhaps it planted a seed for some.

I ate and drank like I was on vacation. Which I guess I kind of was since I had the week off from work.

peanut curry buns & veggie meshi from Eastside King

the rennedict from Bouldin Creek with tofu bacon


Pad Lao with Chinese style BBQ tofu

I got to go to a vegan barbecue party put on by Moby at Cheer Up Charlies


And finally try the Red Rabbit Donut Cooperative‘s donuts at the Compassion Over Killing Bakesale at the Brooklyn Vegan Day party, which was really fun.

vegan donuts FTW

I made peanut butter cocopuff treats, well I guess technically they were coco “blast” treats. The recipe was from Kittie and I will make them again for sure.

also people watching, of course, was really fun

I also saw a lady walking her pig outside of the Alamo Drafthouse and yelled at her until she stopped so I could pet it and take a picture.  Please note, if you are going to walk by me with a little piglet you better not be in a hurry.

I got to pet him!

Now I am so tired from 10 days of music, films, parties, free drinks, and comedy that it is a real struggle to be back at work. I am so jealous of McPuppenstein who is probably doing this as I type this.

look at his cute legs!

I love Austin Texas, I feel so lucky I get to live here.

Valentine’s Day

My man and I have been together for many years now but we have never been really into Valentine’s Day. Actually, on the first one we shared he went all out decorating and buying me The Bodyguard on DVD (some say it is the greatest love story of our time) but since then it has all been kind of meh. This year for whatever reason it hit me that I celebrate all sorts of holidays that I don’t care about like St. Patrick’s Day and Independence Day so why not Valentine’s day. Lucky for me my partner played along and got me flowers and fabulous cupcakes from Sugar Mama’s and I made the best meal ever and we watched a movie that was significantly worse than the Bodyguard.

Unfortunately with all the revelry I took really horrible pictures on my phone but I am going to post them anyway because it was so good. We started with the baked brie from The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions which was may be my favorite part of the whole meal. Going to four stores to find roasted macadamia nuts for the recipe was totally worth it (whole foods got rid of their nut roasting counter! Central Market had them). Next time I will back off on the agave though because it was really sweet. After that we had a spinach salad with niçoise olives and blood oranges. Then the main course was gnocchi with a creamy mushroom sage sauce, topped with frizzled leeks and roasted asparagus. 

The only problem was this portion was way too filling. See all those gnocchi on my plate? I tried to eat them all. I made the sauce by caramelizing some onions, adding garlic, sage, white beans, earth balance, and a little bit of creamy mushroom soup. The leeks were roasted in the oven with lemon,a little bit of clove and ginger and the asparagus were roasted with salt and lemon because why mess with perfection.

Definitely better than typical Monday night fare.

Easy Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I had no idea how easy it is to make homemade peanut butter cups until I saw some pics on design sponge and then read more on Martha Stewart. All you do is melt some chocolate, brush some into a cupcake wrapper, chill, add a peanut butter mix, and top with more melted chocolate and chill again. Both recipes mixed a bunch of sugar with their peanut butter and they also had some crispy element to add more texture. I didn’t want any crispy texture though, I wanted something more like a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup so I omitted that. Then I then had the inspiration to use Peanut Butter & Co’s White Chocolate Wonderful because it is sweet and unique tasting and already has sugar added so I could omit the mixing in sugar step. The result was the simplest decadent dessert I have ever made: no mixing, only one bowl, and I didn’t even have to turn the oven on or measure anything. Next time I think I will use more peanut butter and less chocolate, just barely covering the peanut butter on top.

They are really so amazing. I brought some to work for Valentine’s day and my coworker immediately said I should be selling them which I think I will try with the rest of my coworkers, “happy valentines day, I made you a treat 40 dollars please”.


One of my favorite parts about living in Austin is the outright fear of cold weather. It is something I can really relate to. When we heard that it might snow Thursday night we talked about it, anxiously, for a week ahead of time. My boss made me give him hourly updates from recent doplar radar. People started to panic and leave work early even though it wasn’t supposed to snow until the middle of the night. On Friday, all of our hopes and dreams were made reality when the city of Austin essentially shut down for the biggiest snow fall in recent memory.

Most of my family live around Chicago where they also got their first snow day in years.The dogs were super cute wandering around the backyard in their matching sweaters. Although my plants (covered in tarps) were not nearly so happy about the wintry turn of events. Especially since it was in the 80s last weekend. I made a fabulous and easy lasagna with roasted cauliflower riccotta from Appetite for Reduction to warm up the house and my bellyAnd then rewarded myself for doing such a good job not working with cinnamon rolls.(Check out my new fly potholders that my friends Amanda made for me in the background)

Then we all snuggled up and watched Return of the King, the extended edition, which was so long that I can now promise you I will never ever do that again.

This weekend I am hoping to get out of the house. Austin Pets Alive is having a live puppy bowl tomorrow outside of the Highball if you feel like it is time to adopt a dog this would be a good time to see one in action. Speaking of adopting dogs I know both Austin Pets Alive and the Town Lake animal shelter are still really in need of old blankets to keep all those babies warm so if you have any to spare head on down there.

Stay Warm!


Brussels Sprouts Christmas Trees

Sometimes I get really ridiculous ideas for pictures like restaging an incident when my friends broke my dining room table, or the famous KFC bowl redone but this one in particular was a long time coming. I think it was two Christmases ago that I came up with the plan to form a tree out of mashed potatoes and Brussels Sprouts but I have yet to make it for the actual meal because I keep thinking of ways to make it more complicated; cranberry decorations! ravioli and beggar’s purses surrounding the tree like presents! a star anise topper! gravy whipped into a snow like foam! The possibilities are endless really but the problem is the more you add the more people think you are a lunatic. It is a fine line.

We did this simple test run to see if the tree would even hold up and it did quite well. First we made mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and herbs. Then sautéed the sprouts (cut in half) with onions and balsamic. Then formed a pyramid with the potatoes and pressed the sprouts into them. Next time we are going to make the potatoes a little thicker so that they hold together better and cook the brussels sprouts with a nice miso glaze so they aren’t so dry. I also think chilling them in the fridge would also be a good idea. Finally, we baked them in the oven about 5 minutes, just to make sure everything was toasty and warm and then plated them (carefully) with a spatula. Everyone gets their own tree! What could be better?

Vegan Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart

I saw the most beautiful picture of this chocolate & peanut butter pretzel tart the other day on Pictures and Pancakes and I fell madly in love. Not only was the picture captivating but the recipe made me swoon. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Chocolate and peanut butter covered pretzels are one of my most favorite treats in the world and as soon as I saw it I immediately began thinking of different ways I could veganize it. In the end, the hardest part was finding a fluted tart pan. I went to a couple different places before I entered the madness that is bed bath and beyond– right smack dab in the middle of the shopping season– before I finally found the perfect one. I had to buy the mini tart pans because there is nothing more fun than having a whole fabulous dessert all to yourself. I kept thinking I would make a cashew base but when I was at the co-op the other day I bought a box of mimic cream hoping that it would work.

And it did.


This is the most luscious and fantastic dessert I have ever made. It is so creamy that it will knock your socks off. Honestly, don ‘t even wear socks if you make it.

I tested the recipe early with the intention of making them for Christmas. The only thing that I will do different is a salty roasted peanut garnish on top. 

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Pretzel Tart


8 Tablespoons of Earth Balance
1 1/4 cups coarsely crushed pretzels
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 Tablespoon of ground flax seed mixed with 3 Tablespoons warm water
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 cups sweetened MimicCreme*
10 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
Either a 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom or six smaller ones.

Beat the margarine with 3/4 cup of crushed pretzels and the sugar until creamy.  Beat in the flour and the flax mix.  Add the rest of the pretzels and mix.

If you are making individual tarts divide the dough into six pieces. Take each piece of dough and flatten with a rolling pin between two pieces of parchment paper. You want them thin but not so thin that they will be hard to handle later, like a quarter of an inch. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Take the dough out, peel off one sheet of parchment, invert the tart pan on top of the dough and then flip the whole thing over. Press the dough into pan peeling off any that is overhanging and pressing it anywhere it is cracked.

When the dough is in the tart pans put them all back in the fridge for another half hour. Preheat the oven 350.

Take the tarts out of the fridge, put the parchment paper back on top and weight it down with beans or pie weights. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes (30 if you are doing one big tart) and remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Bake another 5-10 minutes being very careful to check often so it doesn’t burn on top.

In the meantime heat up the mimic cream in small saucepan. Once it starts to simmer turn it off and add the chocolate chips. Stir until melted.

Remove the tart pans from the oven and spread a thin layer of peanut butter on the crust. Sprinkle some salt on top of the peanut butter. Top with the chocolate mix. If you like, garnish with roasted salted peanuts. Put in the fridge at least 4 hours. Spend that time anticipating chocolaty goodness. Enjoy!

*note regarding MimicCreme-
I got the mimic cream at wheatsville co-op, but it seems like something Whole Foods or other similar places would carry. It is a realitivly new product made out of nuts that works for baking (but not drinking) At the co-op it is by all the shelf stable vegan milks and I would imagine it would be there at WF too. It is in a carton that is smaller than regular soy milk but not nearly as small as soy cream and it is a square box.

If they don’t have it I bet you could use soy creamer. I think coconut or hemp milk would work too. In the recipe you just simmer the milk and melt the chocolate in it and then set it in the fridge like a chocolate ganache recipe. It did seem a lot creamier than that so I think a high fat milk would work best. Maybe blend in some soaked nuts too if you want to go all out.