Friday, February 25, 2011

Potato Skins

Okay, so these might have been better for my Super Bowl post, but still good! They take a bit of time to make, but you can't resist the taste.

Potato Skins

* Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
* Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 6 medium to large russet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup peanut oil
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup vegan bacon, chopped*
  • 3/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded*
  • 1/4 cup chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream*
  • salt and pepper, to taste
 * Recipe:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Clean potatoes and wrap in foil.
  3. Bake potatoes in oven for one hour.
  4. After one hour, remove from oven and open foil to vent.
  5. Once cool to touch, slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scoop out the center leaving about a quarter of an inch of skin and potato.
  6. Turn up oven to 450 degrees.
  7. Brush inside and outside of potatoes with oil.
  8. Place potatoes scoop side down in a baking pan or baking sheet with a wire rack so the potatoes have a place to drip the oil.
  9. Bake for ten minutes.
  10. While baking, fry the bacon until crisp.
  11. Flip the potatoes over so the skin side is down. Bake for ten more minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and top each with bacon and cheese. Broil until cheese has melted.
  13. Mix the sour cream with the majority of the chives. Reserve about a tablespoon to top later.
  14. Top with sour cream mixture, the remaining chives, salt, and pepper.
  15. Optional: For the scooped potato remains, one could make mashed potatoes. Check out my recipe here: My Mom's Mashed Potatoes.

* Note: For vegan bacon, I used Upton's Naturals vegan bacon. Alas, one can not buy it in stores. It is for food vendors only, though I get it through the Chicago Vegan Co-Op. One could use Lightlife brand instead. For cheddar cheese, I used Teese brand which is made by Chicago Soydairy. For those outside Chicago, one can get it online. Other brands like Follow Your Heart or Soy Kaas would do just fine. The sour cream I used was Tofutti.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spinach Artichoke Dip

I have to say, this dip is addictive. It was SO good!

Spinach Artichoke Dip
* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 20-30 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 2 oz. vegan Parmesan cheese*
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 jar (14 oz.) plain artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 2/3 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 1/3 cup vegan mayonnaise*
  • 1 cup vegan cream cheese*
  • 2 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegan mozzarella cheese, shredded*
* Recipe:
  1. Preheat over to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all the ingredients except the last in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Put the mixture into two ramekins.
  4. Bake the dip for 20 minutes.
  5. While it is baking, add shred the vegan mozzarella cheese.
  6. Take the ramekins out of the oven and top each with the shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for another 5-10 minutes until cheese has melted or turned a golden brown color. 
* Note: For vegan Parmesan, I used Galaxy topping. The sour cream I used was Tofutti. Mayonnaise was Vegenaise. The cream cheese and mozzarella were Follow Your Heart.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine's Day: Raw Kale Salad, Spaghetti & Heart-Shaped Meatballs, Tiramisu, & Caprese Martinis

Below are my recipes for a complete Valentine's Day meal. Romance your love with this tasty, cruelty-free dinner!

Raw Kale Salad

I love the raw kale salad at Whole Foods. I may, in fact, be obsessed with it. This is my recreation of it and it tasted just like it!

* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 5 minutes
* Ingredients:

  • 1/2 bunch kale, washed, cut 
  • 2 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 1/2 medium tomato, diced, optional
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
* Recipe:
  1. Divide the cut kale into two salad bowls.
  2. Top each bowl with 1 tbsp cranberries and 1 tbsp pine nuts. Add half the tomatoes to each bowl (optional).
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
  4. Add more olive oil or lemon juice to taste, if desired.
  5. Top the salad with the dressing. Enjoy!
Spaghetti & Heart-Shaped Meatballs

* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes
* Ingredients (for pasta sauce):
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt, heavy pinch
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 3 fresh medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup red wine*
  • 1 14.5 oz can crushed tomatoes with herbs
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • pepper, to taste
* Ingredients (for meatballs):
  • 2 packages Upton's Naturals ground beef style seitan, crumbled*
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 tbsp vegan Parmesan*
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 "egg" Ener-G egg replacer (follow according to box directions)*
  • 1/3 cup Italian style bread crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, for frying, add more if needed
* Ingredients (for pasta):
  • 6 oz. spaghetti, cooked by box instructions
  • fresh Italian parsley, to top
  • fresh basil, to top
  • vegan Parmesan cheese, to top

* Recipe (for pasta sauce):
  1. Sautee the onions and garlic in the olive oil and salt until the onions have sweat.
  2. Add the diced fresh tomatoes, thyme, basil, and wine. Cook down until wine is reduced to half. This step may take about twenty minutes.
  3. Lastly, add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and pepper. Simmer for about ten minutes.
* Recipe (for meatballs):
  1. Combine the first 11 ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan.
  3. While the oil is heating, shape the meatballs into heart-shapes.
  4. On a plate, add the bread crumbs. Roll the meatballs in the bread crumbs.
  5. Cook in the skillet until golden brown.
* Recipe (for pasta):
  1. To assemble, place cooked pasta on a plate. Top with the sauce and meatballs.
  2. Add the parsley, basil, and Parmesan to the pasta plate. Buon appetito!
* Note: Make sure your red wine is vegan on Barnivore. I used Our Daily Red organic, vegan red wine. Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles,Gimme Lean Sausage by Lightlife, or Yves Meatless Ground Round Original. Vegan Parmesan brand I use is Galaxy topping. Ener-G is an egg replacer one can find in the baking area of health food stores. There are other means of egg replacing such as using apple sauce. For the bread crumbs, make sure to check they are vegan. Oftentimes, they will contain dairy. I used the Whole Foods brand, 365.


* Prep Time: 15 minutes
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for lady fingers):
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup white sugar*
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond milk*
  • 2 tbsp soy butter, melted*
  • 3 "egg" Ener-G egg replacer (follow box instructions)*
* Ingredients (for custard filling):
  • 1 8 oz. container vegan cream cheese*
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream*
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup amaretto
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar*
  • 2 tsp cornstarch (mixed with 2 tbsp water)
* Ingredients (for coffee mixture):
  • 1/2 cup espresso*
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Grand Mariner  
* Ingredients (for topping):
  • cocoa powder, to dust
  • powdered sugar, to dust
  • shaved dark vegan chocolate, to top
* Recipe (for lady fingers):
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another small bowl.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. Make sure no lumps are in the batter.
  4. In an oiled medium baking dish, add the batter in a level fashion.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden and a toothpick can come out clean from the center of the cake.
* Recipe (for custard filling):
  1. Combine all the ingredients except for the cornstarch mixture. Whisk together until no lumps are found.
  2. In a small pot, add the custard mixture and heat on medium heat. When it starts to boil, add the cornstarch mixture.
  3. Turn to low to medium heat and cook for about five minutes. It should look rather thick (rather than runny).
  4. Set aside until needed for building process.
* Recipe (for coffee mixture):
  1. Combine freshly made espresso with Grand Mariner.
* Recipe (for building):
  1. Using a round cookie cutter (or a round form), cut out circles from the lady finger cake.
  2. Dip each circle in the coffee mixture on both sides of the cake.
  3. Place one circle on a plate. Top with the custard mixture.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times.
  5. Once done adding custard to the last cake piece, top the tiramisu with cocoa powder, powdered sugar, and shaved chocolate. 
* Note: Make sure all the sugar in this recipe is vegan. You can find marked vegan sugar at health food stores. I used almond milk, though feel free to use any non-dairy milk. For soy butter, I used Bestlife which I found at my local Jewel. Ener-G is an egg replacer one can find in the baking area of health food stores. There are other means of egg replacing such as using apple sauce. For vegan cream cheese, I used Follow Your Heart brand. The sour cream was Tofutti brand. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener used to replace honey. One can find it near the honey in the green/organic/natural section of your grocery. I have an espresso maker, so I just made my espresso for this. They do make powdered espresso that I'm sure you could add water to. It would be in the baking section of your grocer.

 Caprese Martinis

* Prep Time: 6-12 hours
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients:
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, sliced 1/4 in. thick
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • kosher salt
  • 8 grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 bunch fresh basil
  • 4 small vegan mozzarella balls*
* Recipe:
  1. Put tomato slices in a large glass container or pitcher. Add the vodka (make sure it covers the tomatoes) and a pinch of salt. Let infuse for 6-12 hours at room temperature. Strain the vodka, then chill until ready to serve.
  2. Meanwhile, prick the grape tomatoes with a skewer (or toothpick); toss with the balsamic vinegar in a bowl and marinate for 4 hours at room temperature.
  3. Drain the grape tomatoes, reserving the vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a boil in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  4. For each drink, drizzle some balsamic syrup into the bottom of a chilled martini glass. Muddle 2 to 3 basil leaves with a splash of tomato-infused vodka in a cocktail shaker. Add another 1 1/2 oz. tomato-infused vodka and 1 cup of ice; shake and strain into the glass. Skewer 2 marinated grape tomatoes, 2 basil leaves, and a mozzarella ball on a cocktail pick (or toothpick) and set in martini.
* Note: The caprese martini recipe was taken from Food Network Magazine March 2011 edition. To spare some time, one could just add squeezed tomatoes to the vodka instead of infusing. For the mozzarella balls, I used Soy Kaas as it is easy to form into a ball because of its texture.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Shrimp Scampi & Balsamic Sage Butter Tortellini

I subscribe to the Food Network Magazine monthly and despite it is 95% not vegan, I still enjoy it because I learn new techniques for various things (such as pasta's or mixology). Usually, there are ways to veganize many of their dishes and their side dishes are generally vegan. This month's issue was pasta. After reading it, I was inspired to make a vegan tortellini (which I've never had before). Vegan shrimp scampi has been running through my head for a while now as an idea, so I made it with the tortellini.
Shrimp Scampi

* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 10 minutes
* Ingredients:  
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4th small white onion, sliced fine
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced fine
  • 3 tbsp soy butter*
  • 1/2 jar (7.5 oz.) artichoke hearts, medium slice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup white wine*
  • 3/4 package (5 oz.) vegan shrimp*
  • 1/8 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • vegan Parmesan, to taste, top (optional)*
* Recipe:  
  1. Heat a medium sized pan with 2 tbsp of the soy butter. Add in the onion and when it starts to become translucent, add the garlic and green onion.
  2. Next, add the lemon juice, white wine, artichoke hearts, and vegan shrimp. Cook for a few minutes until the shrimp become tender.
  3. Add the lemon zest, fresh parsley, the remaining 1 tbsp of soy butter, salt, and pepper. Cook for a few more minutes until the butter melts and the shrimp are completely cooked.
  4. Top the dish with vegan Parmesan, if desired.
* Note: For soy butter, I used Bestlife brand. I found it at my local Jewel Osco (Albertson's, Lucky's, Cub Foods, County Market, Shop 'n Save, Save-a-Lot to some - same company). Make sure your wine is vegan on Barnivore. I found the vegan shrimp at a local Thai/Chinese grocery store. The brand I used was Verisoy which coincidentally is owned by Vegetarian Plus. So use either brand! Vegan Parmesan brand I use is Galaxy topping.

Balsamic Sage Butter Tortellini

The sauce in this recipe was modified from the "Sage-Walnut Butter" tortellini sauce in the Food Network Magazine March 2011 edition. I veganized it and halved the recipe. The tortellini and dough are my recipes, though.

* Prep Time: 30 minutes
* Cook Time: 20 minutes
* Ingredients (for tortellini filling):
  • 1/2 package (4 oz.) vegan cream cheese*
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried parsley
  • 2-3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp vegan Parmesan*
  • 1/2 cup Teese vegan mozzarella cheese*
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste 
* Ingredients (for dough):
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water (plus extra water to fold tortellini)
  • pinch of salt, for boiling water
  • 1 tsp olive oil, for boiling water
* Ingredients (for balsamic sage butter sauce): 
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp agave nectar*
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tbsp soy butter*
  • 1/4 cup sage leaves*
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pasta-cooking water
  • salt, to taste
  • vegan Parmesan, to top  
* Recipe (for tortellini filling):
  1. Combine the cream cheese with the oregano, basil, garlic powder, parsley, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Mix well.
  2. Mashed the Parmesan and the mozzarella cheese.
  3. Combine the cream cheese mixture with the cheese mixture. Mix well. 
* Recipe (for tortellini dough):
  1. Mix the all-purpose flour, the semolina flour, and salt well in a medium bowl.
  2. On a clean counter space, create a mound with the flour mixture. In the center, create a well.
  3. In this well, put in the olive oil and water. 
  4. Slowly start to mix and then knead dough until smooth.
  5. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough until slightly thin.
  6. With either a small round cookie cutter or the opening of a glass, create circles in your dough.
  7. Place 1 tsp of the tortellini mixture in the center of each of the circles.
  8. Fold over and seal with water. Take the stuffed side of the tortellini and place it against the back of your finger. Push down to create a ring around your finger to get that distinct tortellini shape.
  9. In a medium pot of boiling water, add the salt and olive oil, then cook the tortellini until the float (only a few minutes). Let cook for one minute after they start to float. Do not overcrowd the pot with tortellini or else they will stick together.
* Recipe (for balsamic sage butter sauce):
  1. In a medium pan, combine the balsamic vinegar, agave nectar, and the bay leaf. Cook until syrupy.
  2. Melt the soy butter in a medium pan and add the sage leaves and walnuts. Cook for 3 minutes.
  3. Add 1/2 cup pasta cooking water and let cook until reduced by half.
  4. Toss in the tortellini and add the salt. Mix well.
* Recipe (for building tortellini dish):
  1. Place the tortellini and the reduced water mixture in a bowl followed by the balsamic glaze.
  2. Top with vegan Parmesan.
* Note:  For vegan cream cheese, I used Tofutti brand. Again, with this recipe I used Galaxy topping for vegan Parmesan. The mozzarella cheese I used is a local Chicago vegan cheese company, Chicago Soydairy. Feel free to use another vegan mozarella brand (such as Soy Kaas or Follow Your Heart). I used this brand because it is easy to mash. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener often used to replace honey (which it did for this recipe). You can find it in the health/green food section of your grocer near the honey. For soy butter, again I used Bestlife. Lastly, I did not have fresh sage leaves, so I used dried rugged sage instead.

Melissa, owner of, has offered Vegan Miss readers 20% off! is a vegan, eco-friendly clothing and accessory website. Please use "vegan20" as the coupon code. No expiration on the coupon. Happy buying!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Super Bowl: Pulled Pork Sandwiches & Loaded Nachos

I do not follow football, but I do cook! These are a few things I whipped up just in case other people actually watch football and would like to eat vegan grub. Also, check out Mercy For Animals blog post on what one can conjure up for the big day: Score Big by Hosting a Vegan Super Bowl Party.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Bourbon BBQ Sauce
* Prep Time: 10 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes (without cooking seitan - make ahead of time)
* Ingredients (for pulled pork):
  • seitan pieces, cooked according to these directions, pulled a part
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar*
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp celery salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • hamburger buns, for sandwiches
* Ingredients (for bourbon BBQ sauce):
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped fine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 tbsp bourbon*
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp tobasco
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp butter, softened*
  • 5 tbsp brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

* Recipe (for pulled pork): 
  1. Make the seitan according to the directions given in a previous post. Squeeze the juice that the seitan cooked in out of the seitan pieces.
  2. In a bowl, pull a part the seitan so it resembles "pulled pork". 
  3. In another bowl, mix the remaining ingredients (aside from the buns!). Throw it in the bowl with the seitan and mix well. 
  4. Place the seitan mixture in a pot on low-medium heat. Let the seitan brown a bit (not a lot) so that the spices set in on it sort of like a rub, if you will.
  5. Keep warm while you make the BBQ sauce.
* Recipe (for BBQ sauce):
  1. Chop up the onions and mince the garlic. In a small non-stick pan, cook the onions and garlic until the onions are translucent.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients and put on a medium sized pot on the stove. Add the onions and garlic. Stir on low-medium heat until reduced, about thirty minutes.
* Recipe (for sandwich):
  1. Mix the BBQ sauce with the seitan.
  2. Put pulled pork on hamburger buns, serve. 
* Note: For the bourbon, make sure it is vegan on Barnivore. I used Earth Balance for the butter. For the sugar, make sure it is vegan!

Loaded Nachos

* Prep Time: 5 minutes
* Cook Time: 30 minutes (with cheeze sauce)
* Ingredients (for nachos):
  • 1 (14 oz.) can vegetarian refried beans, warmed
  • cheeze sauce, cooked according to these directions
  • 1/2 package (4 oz.) Upton's Naturals ground beef style seitan, crumbled*
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • several dollops vegan sour cream*
  • 1/2 jar salsa*
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 stalks green onion, sliced thin
  • tortilla chips, to serve
* Ingredients (for guacamole):
  • 2 avocados, pits remove
  • 3-4 limes, squeezed
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 1/2 one poblano pepper, chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup, fresh cilantro, chopped
  • salt, to taste
* Recipe (for seitan):
  1. Crumble your seitan and mix together the paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and chili powder with it.
  2. Brown in a non-stick pan on medium heat.
* Recipe (for guacamole):
  1. In a bowl, mash the avocados and add the lime juice. Mix.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
* Recipe (for building nachos):
  1. Lay chips on plate.
  2. Layer order: seitan, beans, cheeze sauce, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, garnishments.
* Note: Upton's Naturals is a local Chicago seitan company. They sell their faux meats here in Chicagoland. You could use other seitan-style meat crumbles such as Boca Ground Crumbles,Gimme Lean Sausage by Lightlife, or Yves Meatless Ground Round Original. I used Tofutti vegan sour cream. For salsa, my favorite brand is Green Mountain Gringo with medium spice.

For good measure, you could also make my cheeze stick recipe, my chili cheeze fries, stuffed crust pizza, deep dish pizza, stuffed cheese and bacon burgers, or horseshoe sandwich dishes! Phew, so much vegan fast food!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Blogger Award & Recognition

To my surprise, I received a lovely email from Kristi at Veggie Converter letting me know she tagged me for a blogger award! Thank you so much for the recognition and honor. :]

The rules of the award are as follows:
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
  • Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award
My seven things..

1. I am forever in school: I have a B.B.A. in International Business and Management. During my undergraduate years, I also received my minor in Asian Languages & Literature (focus in Japanese) and studied abroad in London and also in Tokyo (to finish the said minor). Currently, I am pursuing a second bachelor's degree (B.A.) in Biology. 

2. I hope to go into the pre-health field: (one day). I went back to school in order to do this. After finishing my business degree, I realized I would never be satisfied or happy doing corporate business (despite I actually really enjoy management and the straight-forwardness of business [usually]). I need to help people or animals. Becoming vegan taught me that it is much more fulfilling to help those around you than to ever help yourself.

3. I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area: Born and raised (and proud)! My whole family is from there. My grandmother was born in San Francisco in 1899, though she missed the Great Earthquake in 1906 because they had moved back to Pennsylvania to live with the rest of the family that had immigrated there from Ireland before the Civil War. They came back to SF in 1908, though. Growing up in SF gave me a variety of cultural experiences that I feel so blessed to have. The weather isn't bad either! 

4. I work as a Chicago Outreach Coordinator for Mercy For Animals: I help with a variety of tasks including leafleting, feed-in's, peaceful protests, and all the social networking. I was honored with the Youth Activist of the Year Award in 2009 at the Celebrating Compassion Gala.

5. There are only five places I wish to live one day: 1. Austin, TX. - 2. SF Bay Area - 3. Big Island of HI - 4. Irish countryside - 5. London. A bit all over, yes? Notice there isn't a whole lot of snow in any of those areas. I'm okay with rain!

6. I have two blind cats: who are my best friends! Popeye is my oldest cat and he only has one eye. That eye is about half blind with scar tissue. Lucy is my new kitten who has no eyes at all! They are such good cats who show great resilience despite the odds.

7. I would love to live out of a suitcase forever: if I could. Traveling is one of my favorite things and I get very antsy if I sit in one place for too long. I love culture and experiencing new people and places. Right now, I would love to visit South Africa or India. Oftentimes, I feel sort of torn between craving a more domestic life (hello, blind cats) or never staying still.

15 of my favorites:

Okay, so these are not "recently" discovered, but these blogs are some of my favorites.

1. Vegan Machine - I just discovered VM through Twitter... her cupcakes look so divine!

Vegan Dad - VD and I go way back. I've been using and loving this blog for a few years.

3. Vegalicious - The same goes for Vegelicious. Been loving them for years.

Meet the Shannons - Okay, okay. I know everyone knows about this blog but I LOVE IT SO MUCH! Betty Crocker gone vegan?!

5. Your Vegan Mom - I don't have kids, but this blog is too cute.

VeganYumYum - This blog is quite popular, but I love how she veganizes many Asian dishes.

7. a cupcake chronicle - This is my friend's (and also former Mercy For Animals intern) blog! She loves cupcakes and she can sure make them. :]

Comfort Food Vegan - The name says it all, right? Comfort food!
9. - Great news outlet for all things vegan. Have you read the Ultimate Vegan Guide yet? Erik has it posted for free on his website. Check it out!

FatFree Vegan Kitchen - Another popular blog but I love using her recipes for weeknight cooking. I usually just search by a vegetable I want to use and find something that works!

My Vintage Cookbook Addiction - Inspired my "Dishes Men Like" posts. Love the Etsy shop too.

12. seitan is my motor - I've used quite of few of their recipes before. Enjoyed them very much.

Tofu for Two - Same applies as above. There are quite a few European recipes for those who want to try something new (us Americans).

14. Bobby Pin Blog - Vintage hair. 'Nough said.

Firewater Kitchen - This is my friend's blog. We co-blogged the French Onion Soup recipe. For those of you who like your libations, mosey over to his blog (it's a booze blog).
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