Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan Pumpkin Recipes

Happy Halloween, everyone! I'm spending this evening with my family, either going with my brother and sister-in-law and my cousin and his wife to take their kids trick-or-treating (my nephew is 2, and I can't wait to see his costume!), or staying in with my parents and grandmother to pass out candy to the kids that come buy the house. I haven't decided which yet, though I'm sure I'll have fun either way!

In honor of all of those Jack-o-lanterns out there, here's a round-up of delicious pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin Pie by Ann Miner
Pumpkin Pecan Pie (Crustless) by LittleCrystal

Pumpkin Cheesecake by KayceeBassett
Easy Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake by BreyettEyes
THE Pumpkin (un)-Cheesecake by
Praline Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake by veggiewedgie

Pumpkin Curry Soup by veganmiss
Simple Pantry Pumpkin Bean Soup by WinterClover
Pumpkin Ginger Soup by Isuelt
Savory Pumpkin Soup by joannac
Pumpkin-Ginger Soup by Melinda McBride

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles by jilli
Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Cookies by deathrockmama
Pumpkin Orange Soft Granola Bars by tvaughan84
Pumpkin Spice Raisin Muffins by chickpea27
Delicious Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins! by Spiritree
The Best Pumpkin Muffins You Will Ever Eat by tigereyegirl123
Amazing Pumpkin Cornbread by maleficent_lovecraft
Tropical Mixed Grain Pumpkin Bread by oktokrewl
Pumpkin Roll by ammclendon
Pumpkin Cake Roll by AliAli009

Pumpkin Chocolate Healthy Indulgent Shake! by sarahrugg
Petite Pumpkin Smoothie by Tara Petite
Dessert-for-Breakfast Raw Pumpkin Pie Smoothie by lebkuchen

Pumpkin Pancakes by amandajomac
Pumpkin Pancakes by krs

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce by JGL
Maple and Brown Sugar Pumpkin Casserole by lauranc
A Beautiful Stuffed Pumpkin by kookoo4couscous
Pumpkin Dandies by Connie Warren
Pumpkin Butter by LisaViger
Chocolate Pumpkin Amazingness by vegirunner

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan Halloween Candy

Tomorrow is Halloween! Are you ready? Just in case you were wondering what vegan candy options were out there, here's some lists -

The Official Guide To Vegan Candy from VegNews

Ecorazzi's List Of Vegan-Approved Halloween Candy

30 different vegan candy options from

Also, there are some great online shops that sell vegan Halloween candy. Cosmo's Vegan Shoppe, Vegan Essentials, and Food Fight Grocery all have yummy choices.

Tomorrow's post will feature a bunch of awesome pumpkin recipes!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Vegan Halloween Recipes

Since it's nearly Halloween, I'm going to be doing some round-up posts over the next 3 days, counting down to the big day itself!

Today, let's talk recipes. Are you going to be hosting an amazingly spooky party for a bunch of friends? Perhaps you're going to someone else's party and you want to make sure there's something you can eat. Maybe you're boycotting the whole holiday and staying inside with the porch light off all night, but you'd still like something spooky to eat. *grin* Try some (or all!) of the following -

Bat Chips from Family Fun (serve with "Monster Brains", i.e. guacamole)

Vegan Caramel Apples from

Spicy Bruised Bugs from

Slime Smoothie by dannibazaar (from VegWeb)

Witches Brew Smoothie by LisaViger (from VegWeb)

Nasty Gnats by Blahniks (from VegWeb)

Vegan Devil's Food Cupcakes from Meet The Shannons

Vegan Lemon Flavored Candy Corn by DJ Karma at VegSpinz (with no artificial coloring! Yay!)

Asparagus Skeletons with Roasted Garlic Tofutti Cream Cheese in a Puff Pastry Coffin and Deep Fried Wonton Ghosts with an Asian Tempeh Filling by DJ Karma at VegSpinz

Blue Cupcakes with Purple Frosting by Hannah Kaminsky at bittersweetblog (also no artificial coloring! Double yay!)

Raw Vegan Halloween Cut-Out Cookies by Golubka

Creepy Radish Eyeballs by salad savior (from

Various recipes from Witch Hazel of

That's it for recipes. Tune in tomorrow for a vegan candy round-up!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dinner & a Movie - Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom / "Eyeball" Soup & Chilled "Monkey Brains"

Film - Indiana Jones & The Temple Of Doom
Travel Tie-In - Indiana travels from Shanghai to the Himalayas to northern India.
Food - "Eyeball" Soup and Chilled "Monkey Brains"

(Pardon the fact that the video is in French; I couldn't find one in English.)

"Temple of Doom" is actually my least favorite Indiana Jones movie (and yes, I'm including "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", which I thought was fun). It features a completely vapid annoying romantic interest (Kate Capshaw, a feminist, said her character was "not much more than a dumb screaming blonde."), a really dark violent plot, and more cultural offenses and inaccuracies than one can count. However, it offers a perfect opportunity for a Halloween-themed Dinner & a Movie tie-in! Also, any movie with Harrison Ford is (in my opinion) a movie worth at least casually watching.

In Pankot Palace, Indy and his friends are served a rather disgusting feast, including baby snakes, eyeball soup, beetles and chilled monkey brains. While this is certainly not traditional Indian food (at least half of India consists of vegetarians!), I thought it would be fun to try to veganize a couple of these dishes for this post.

Let's start with "Eyeball" Soup. I think that a good start would be this recipe for Pepper Rasam soup. For "eyeballs", start with 2 or 3 blocks of extra firm tofu (*not* silken) and press it to get all of the water out of it. Freeze it, thaw it, and then use a melon baller to get as many "eyeballs" out of each block as you can. You can put the tofu balls directly into the soup, or you can go the extra distance and stick a sliced olive onto each ball with a little peanut butter.

For desert: Chilled "Monkey Brains"! To be *really* authentic, you'd need to get bowls shaped like monkey heads, but I haven''t seen any and have no idea where one might get them. (Ideas, readers?) To start, you'll need a brain mold, and you can get either small brain molds or a large brain mold - it's up to you to decide what kind of monkeys you'll be (not) using. For the "brain", you've got some options. There are many different gelatin substitutes out there; you can make your own with 2 cups of apple juice (or any other juice that would be "brain" colored) and 2 tsp of agar-agar powder (following this recipe or this one, which also uses kuzu, or you can get a box of vegan fruit-flavored gelatin if you don't mind it being red or orange. A third option is to go to your local Asian grocery store and buy some of the packaged agar-agar desert mixes there - they come in interesting flavors like coffee, red bean, almond, and coconut, and aren't translucent like regular vegan gelatin. Just make sure to check the packaging, since some are vegan but others have agar-agar *and* gelatin or even dairy. Make the vegan gelatin of your choice, pour into the brain molds, and chill.

I didn't try to veganize the snakes or beetles, because I couldn't come up with any convincing substitutes (although vegan gummy worms are an option). If you've got any ideas for those, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Etsy Vegan MoFo Fun!

On Etsy, my shop (Knightime Creations) is a member of the Vegan Etsy Team. I am honored to be a part of such an awesome group of creative vegans. To celebrate this, I've made a treasury of Vegan Etsy items for today's post. (I also think I gained 10 pounds just putting it together!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Kismet Cafe, Austin, TX

Kismet Cafe
411 West 24th Street
Austin, TX 78705-5209
(512) 236-1811
Hours: Sun-Wed 11am-1am, Thurs-Sat 11am-4am

Kismet Cafe - Austin, TX

Kismet Cafe is a small restaurant located next to a bank and right across the street from the building that used to be Tower Records (then Follet's Intellectual Property, now Qdoba / Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf). It might be hard to find parking, though if you go after 5:30, all of the metered street spots are free. The dining room is a bit small as well, with 10 or 11 tables. Kismet Cafe has an even more extensive menu than I'd found online, including Vegan Shwarma (made with wheat roast) and Vegan Gyros (both wraps). The gals behind the counter seem to be pretty informed about what's in everything, and with a menu that lists "vegan" anything at a restaurant next to a college campus, I figure the chances of a decent variety of vegan options are pretty good. I ordered the Vegan Shwarma ($5.40 with tax), which came out wrapped in tissue paper and foil in a paper boat. I have no idea how they prepared the wheat roast, but the whole filling was very smooth and delicious - not chewy or with solid chunks like I would have expected. The tahini started escaping towards the end of the wrap, and was a bit messy.

Vegan Shwarma from Kismet Cafe - Austin, TX

Kismet Cafe's website says they have free wi-fi, though the signal was password protected the last time I visited. There are open signals from neighboring Pita Pit and Big Bite, though neither one worked on my MacBook.

Overall, there are some good vegan choices and the prices are very reasonable (a couple of veggie wraps are only $2.99). It'd be nice if they used non-disposible plates and such, but perhaps I'll see if I can give them one of my to-go containers next time. If anyone goes and tries it, let me know if it works!

Kismet Cafe - Austin, TX

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Salad For Dinner

One of the downsides to traveling is that sometimes, when you don't plan as well as you should, you sometimes end up eating tater tots and a strawberry slush for dinner and having blackberry snack pies for desert. *sheepish look*

In order to make up for some of my traveling transgressions, I decided to make a salad for dinner tonight.

Dinner Salad

I went to Wheatsville and bought some mixed organic salad greens, a couple of local pears, a Reed avocado (these things are huge!), a couple of local tomatoes, a couple of oranges, and a few organic carrots. I also picked up some vegan Bac-Uns and Braggs Hawaiian Dressing.

Dinner Salad with Vegan Bac-Uns and Dressing

Besides the salad mix, I bought a bunch of organic spinach and a bunch of organic kale, and I will be splitting those between smoothies and salads for the rest of the week.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Mini-Rant

I try to be positive about things, but I'm going to have to go on a mini-rant for a minute. I love chocolate. (Big surprise, I know.) I love marzipan. I also love hazelnuts. I find it just plain wrong that Ritter Sport makes a vegan dark chocolate bar and a vegan dark chocolate bar with marzipan, but their dark chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts is *not* vegan. I can't figure this out - they have a milk chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts; why can't the dark chocolate bar be vegan? Why do they need butter in this bar when it obviously isn't needed in the other two dark chocolate bars? Why??? *shakes hands at the sky in frustration*

Eh. Perhaps I'll just stick it to Ritter Sport and get some Sjaak's Chocolate Mini-Bites instead, which are both fair-trade and organic, and come in caramel. Did I mention I love caramel?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Ruchi Indian Cuisine, Overland Park, KS

Ruchi Indian Cuisine
11168 Antioch Road
Overland Park, KS 66210
(913) 661-9088
Hours: Sun-Sat 11am–2:30pm, 5–10pm

Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS

I went to Ruchi with some friends, since we were craving Indian food and I had heard that Ruchi had a specific vegan menu. However, upon getting there at lunch time, I was informed that they were serving the buffet only. I asked the owner what all was vegan (after a bit of explanation as to exactly what I didn't eat), and he pointed out everything on the buffet that was vegan (which, surprisingly, was most of the veggie items). I ended up getting two plates of food, and was impressed at how good it was.

Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS
Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS
Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS
Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS
Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS
Ruchi Indian Cuisine - Overland Park, KS

The owner was very nice and gave us a coupon for our next visit, so the next time I'm in the area, I'll be stopping by at dinner time to try and take advantage of that vegan menu!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Blue Koi, Kansas City, MO

I just realized that we left Kansas without blogging about a couple of great restaurants - oops! Let's fix that, shall we?

Blue Koi
1803 W. 39th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
(816) 561-5003
Hours: Mon - Thur: 11am-9:30pm, Fri: 11am-10:30pm, Sat: 12 noon-10:30pm

10581 Mission Road
Leawood, KS 66206
(913) 383-3330
Hours: Sun Closed; Mon-Thu 11am–9:30pm; Fri-Sat 11am–10:30pm

Blue Koi was a favorite among my omnivore friends as well as myself. Their Tofu with Awesome Sauce is amazing (when they say awesome, they're not kidding!), and their Dumplings are delectable (but I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to dumplings).

Blue Koi - Kansas City, MO - Tofu With Awesome Sauce
Blue Koi - Kansas City, MO - Dumplings

They also have bubble tea, though you'll want to check with the waiter as to which flavors are vegan - there's two or three.

Blue Koi - Kansas City, MO - Bubble Tea

Besides the tofu and veggie dumplings, they also have vegan Eggplant Pockets with garlic sauce, Tofu Lettuce Wraps, Vegetarian Chili Pepper Wantons, and Vegetable Noodle Soup.

Blue Koi - Kansas City, MO

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dinner & a Movie - My Big Fat Greek Wedding / Spanikopita, Greek Potatoes, Moussaka, & Baklava

Since yesterday's restaurant review was for Tino's Greek Cafe, I thought it was very fitting to make today's Dinner & a Movie post be about "My Big Fat Greek Wedding", which is one of my favorite romances.

Film - My Big Fat Greek Wedding
Travel Tie-In - Toula's family has traveled from Greece to America, and Toula gets a job at her aunt's travel agency
Food - Spanikopita, Greek Potatoes, Magnificent Meatless Moussaka, & Baklava (with optional Bundt Cake)

Aunt Voula: When you come to my house and I cook for you?
Ian: Uh, okay.
Toula: Uh, Thea, that might be a problem.
Aunt Voula: What problem? I'm the best cook in the family; tell him.
Toula: Oh, I did. Didn't I?
Ian: Twice.
Toula: Okay, then. Uh, it's just that, uh... Ian is a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat.
Aunt Voula: He don't eat no meat?
Toula: No, he doesn't eat meat.
Aunt Voula: What do you mean he don't eat no meat?
[the entire room stops, in shock]
Aunt Voula: Oh, that's okay. That's okay. I make lamb.

Food is very important in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding". As Toula says, "Nice Greek girls are supposed to do three things in life: marry Greek boys, make Greek babies, and feed everyone... until the day we die" and "we're always together, just eating, eating, eating! The only other people we know are Greeks, 'cause Greeks marry Greeks to breed more Greeks, to be loud breeding Greek eaters."

Maria Portokalos: Ian, are you hungry?
Ian Miller: Uh no, I already ate.
Maria Portokalos: Okay, I make you something.

For this movie, I've selected Spanikopita, Greek Potatoes, Magnificent Meatless Moussaka, and Baklava - Traditional and a Variation for desert.

However, if you want something a little less Greek for desert...

[upon receiving a bundt cake from Mrs. Miller]
Maria Portokalos: Thank you. What is it?
Harriet Miller: It's a bundt.
Maria Portokalos: Bun...bun...bunk.
Harriet Miller: Bundt! Bundt!
Aunt Freida: (whispering) It's a cake.
Maria Portokalos: It's a cake! I know! Thank you! Thank you very, very much.
Maria Portokalos: [whispering to Aunt Freida] There's a hole in this cake! could make an Apple Bundt Cake.

I tried to check Barnivore to see if ouzo is vegan, but they don't have any information. The only info I was able to find says that it's probably vegan, but no one is 100% sure.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Tino's Greek Cafe, Austin, TX

Tino's Greek Cafe
13450 North Hwy 183, Austin, TX 78759 (512) 336-5999
10515 North Mopac (Arbor Walk Shopping Center), Austin, TX 78758 (512) 343-9999
5501 Balcones Dr., Austin, TX 78731 (512) 533-9292
9901 Brodie Ln., Austin, TX 78745 (512) 233-4999
9828 Great Hills Trail, Austin, TX 78759 (512) 346-3636
1201 Barbara Jordon (IH 35 & 51st Street), Austin, TX 78723 (512) 474-9292
Hours: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun 11am-8pm

Tino's Greek Cafe - Austin, TX
Mark and I decided to splurge a bit today while we were out running errands, and had lunch at Tino's Greek Cafe. Tino's is a cafeteria-style restaurant where you can either order something off the blackboard menu (like gyros or whatnot) or you can get a "platter" - your choice of a certain number of items from the cafeteria lineup. I always get the Vegetarian Platter, which comes with 5 items for $6.99 at lunch or 6 items for $8.99 for dinner. Both come with a piece of pita bread. As far as I'm aware, the vegan options for the platter are the Rice Pilaf, Falafel, Steamed Vegetables, Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Tabouli, Dolmathes, and Vegetarian Moussaka. I *adore* the falafel here; it's not the crunchy chickpea hushpuppy most places serve, but a flat soft patty made with both chickpeas and seasoned potatoes. The moussaka is also good, being flavorful and heavy on the garlic. If you're going for dinner, check before ordering the moussaka, since they offer beef mousakka for dinner only (and I'm not sure if they have both versions).
Tino's Greek Cafe - Austin, TX
Veggie Platter from Tino's Greek Cafe - Austin, TX
If you're not wanting a full platter, the one other option is a Falafel Wrap minus the Tzadziki sauce ($4.99 for lunch, $5.49 for dinner).

I've only been to the first two locations listed above, and mostly the first one. The waitstaff are not exactly personable, and the gal who works the cash register is downright surly, but if you can get past that, the food is really good and a decent bargain.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

RECIPE REVIEW - Waffles & Hash Browns from Vegan Brunch

I promised Vegan Brunch waffles for today's post, so that's what I'm going to do. However, today we find out exactly why I ought to post these things right after I make them instead of procrastinating and posting them months later.

Fruit and Vegan Brunch
Waffle with Cashew Cream and Fruit and Baked Hashbrowns from Vegan Brunch

These were either the Peanut Butter Waffles or the Old-Fashioned Chelsea Waffles, topped with (I think) Sweet Cashew Cream and fruit, with Individual Baked Hash Browns on the side. (If I hadn't procrastinated, I'd know. Well, I'll just have to make up for it by making some more waffles from Vegan Brunch in a few days and post about them. I know, the horror. *grin*)

Waffle from Vegan Brunch

The waffles were very good; I remember that much. I was in charge of making them, and Mark was in charge of making the hash browns. He said that they weren't the easiest things to make, and they came out tasting a bit oilier than we would have preferred, so we'll probably reduce the oil a bit next time.

Baked Hashbrowns from Vegan Brunch

My waffle maker is pretty good, but it's over 10 years old, and doesn't have any kind of indicator to let me know when the waffle is done. And before you mention it, no, just waiting for the steam to stop doesn't work either; half the time, that produces burnt waffles. I usually have to go on a combination of guesswork and luck. On the plus side, no matter how well done the waffle is, it almost never sticks to the iron.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

RECIPE REVIEW - Fluffy Coconut Waffles

The Kansas City Renaissance Festival has come to a close, and we're back in Austin. (Home sweet home...or rather, apartment messy apartment.) We've got money for groceries, but aren't going to be able to buy them until later, so today and tomorrow are going to be waffle posts! I'll start today with my all-time favorite VegWeb waffle recipe, Fluffy Coconut Waffles.

Fluffy Coconut Waffle 2

These waffles are absolutely delectable. The recipe calls for 1 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup nondairy milk, but I generally have used 1 3/4 cups of So Delicious Coconut Milk with good success. I've also replaced the oat flour with whole wheat flour, since it's what I have on hand. Lastly, I've never made these with shredded coconut since I've been too lazy to go out and buy some, but they're quite good even without it.

Fluffy Coconut Waffle 1

It also says that it makes 3-4 waffles, but I've found that I usually get at least 5 out of my batches.

Tomorrow, I'll post about the waffles and hashbrowns from Vegan Brunch!

Monday, October 17, 2011

RESTAURANT REVIEW - Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant, Tulsa, OK

Be Le
6634 South Lewis Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74136-1040
(918) 499-1414
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:00-2:30 & 5:30-9:00, Saturday 11:00-9:00, Closed Sunday

Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK
Be Le is a 100% vegetarian Asian restaurant that specializes in mock meats made from soybeans, seaweed, and yams. They use no MSG, alcohol, preservatives, or eggs. The owner is incredibly nice and can answer any questions about the menu items and what's vegan.

I've tried many different things here, but my favorite has got to be the Egg Roll Noodle Salad Bowl, which features noodles topped with salad greens (mostly lettuce, I think) and vegan "shrimp", "chicken", and "beef", along with two fried vegetable spring rolls and a clear sauce served on the side.
Be Le - Tulsa, OK

The Combination Noodle Soup was also a great dish (let's call it a second favorite).
Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK - Combination Noodle Soup

Out of all of the other things I've tried, the one that was a bit of a letdown was the Fried Fish with Ginger Sauce. This was actually fairly tasty with the first few bites, but wasn't nearly nuanced or exciting enough to last through the entire dish. If you're looking for variety, this one isn't for you; it's just the "fish" on a bed of lettuce with a side of clear sauce.
Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK - Vegan "Fish"

For desert, I love the vegan cake and ice cream. The chocolate soy ice cream has more of an "ice" consistency than "creamy", but still tastes great, and the slightly sweet spongy cake provides an excellent follow-up to my often over-zealous hot chili sauce application to my main dish.
Be Le - Tulsa, OK

Moo Goo Gai Pan -
Be Le - Tulsa, OK

Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK
Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK
Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK
Be Le Vegetarian Restaurant - Tulsa, OK