What I Ate Wednesday: Pancakes Can Be VEGAN!

I had another weird week, guys. So after about 6 days of eating almost nothing but subpar cookies, it’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday!!!! The cookies were an experiment in gluten free baking with the most natural ingredients I could come up with. They had an odd taste, but after the third or fourth cookie I got used to it and have now eaten at least 18 of them. However, I think I’ll be re-working that recipe this week, and sadly it may not stay gluten free. Now on to my other interesting meals.

What I Ate Wednesday: Grilled Onion Sandwich | Orthodox and Vegan
Everyone’s heard of the grilled cheese sandwich, but what about the grilled onion sandwich? I used margarine on the outer sides of the bread, and inside with the onion there’s also tahini, mustard, and a tiny bit of garlic powder and nutritional yeast. I am a big fan of onions.

What I Ate Wednesday: Pancakes | Orthodox and Vegan
Our bishop visited this weekend for an early celebration of St. Nicholas Day. Saturday we had a pancake breakfast with the Sunday School, and I got to attend since I’m a teacher. These pancakes were made with a Just-Add-Water mix by Aunt Jemima – the Original Pancake and Waffle Mix – that happened to be Lenten (and vegan). If you get a mix that does call for milk and eggs, just use a non-dairy milk and an egg replacer like baking soda + vinegar, flax meal, mashed banana, or Ener-G Egg Replacer.
Pro Tip: Make a double batch of pancakes and freeze half. They can be heated in the microwave when you need a quick breakfast.

Our breakfast also included crockpot oatmeal made with just oats and water. We had a ton of fruit toppings to choose from, and of course syrup and brown sugar!

What I Ate Wednesday: Salata (Syrian Salad) | Orthodox and Vegan
Sunday we had a luncheon. I forgot to get a picture of the green beans & rice, but here are two of the four giant bowls of salata (Syrian salad) we made. I got to do the dressing 😀 It’s super simple – lemon juice, olive oil, salt. Some people add a tiny touch of garlic, and bonus if you have spearmint leaves to add. In the salad my family usually has lettuce, green onion, tomato, cucumber, and radish, but everybody does it their own way.

You can make a wonderful sandwich by stuffing a pita with hummus and salata. Also, some of us actually drank (in a cup!) the juice left at the bottom of the bowl when the salad was gone. It is wonderful.

What are you eating this week?

What I Ate Wednesday: Thanksgiving, Magic Bars!!

We’ve somehow made it through the first two days of the week, and that means it’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday! Are you ready??? This week we get to take a look at my Thanksgiving dinner, and my special dessert…something magical.

What I Ate Wednesday: Thanksgiving Meal | Orthodox and Vegan
My awesome Thanksgiving dinner! Starting from the top, going clockwise:
1. Brussels Sprouts in Balsamic Reduction with Cream Sauce
2. Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Roast (it comes stuffed)
3. Mashed Potatoes with the gravy that came with the TJ roast
4. Homemade Mushroom Stuffing
5. Stuffed Squash En Croute (experimental recipe)
6. Sweet Potatoes
7. Crescent Roll
8. Classic Green Bean Casserole (veganized, of course)

We also had Syrian salad and kalamata olives, but I couldn’t fit them on my plate.

What I Ate Wednesday: Magic Bars | Orthodox and Vegan
For dessert I made something extra special, something I hadn’t had since going vegan about 18 years ago. MAGIC BARS. One of the main ingredients is sweetened condensed milk. It’s definitely something you can make from scratch at home, but I guess I’ve always been too lazy to try. I found condensed coconut milk at Food Fight the last time I was in Portland, but it was more than $5. Then not too long ago I found it at Meijer for about $3, and I broke down and bought it. It’s basically coconut syrup, and it’s so delicious I ate some with a spoon.

Anyway. I borrowed Tete’s recipe (although I used the traditional graham cracker crust because I didn’t have corn flakes, which is what she prefers) and these were super easy to whip up. Recipe coming soon. I had multiple requests to make them again, and I bet you’ll love them, too!

What I Ate Wednesday: Sunday Dinner | Orthodox and Vegan
I didn’t take many other pictures this week because I was mostly eating leftovers (still finishing off those sweet potatoes!), including some leftovers I brought for our Sunday dinner. So, here you can finally see the Syrian salad with kalamata olives (I love wilted salata, but this is a fresh one 🙂 ), and new additions also included roasted red skin potatoes, pan-fried asparagus with lemon, and garlic bread.

What are you guys eating today???

What I Ate Wednesday: Fast Days and Feast Days

We made it halfway through the week, and it’s time for another What I Ate Wednesday! Sometimes when I look over the pictures from the past week, I can really tell when I was in a hurry to throw something together. The past few days I ate a lot of things that it didn’t even seem worthwhile to take a picture of. I also ate something so weird, I had to take a picture 🙂 And then there was my special meal for a Feast Day celebration.

What I Ate Wednesday: ALT (Avocado Lettuce Tomato) Sandwich | Orthodox and Vegan
I did get off to a good start with pea soup and an ALT (Avocado, Lettuce and Tomato) Sandwich – if you’re eating oil, you could also add your favorite vegan mayo. I made the pea soup using Bob’s Red Mill green pea flour, and added tahini to make it creamy.

What I Ate Wednesday: Double Qrunch Burger Sandwich | Orthodox and Vegan
Another sandwich, but this time I simply prepared two Qrunch Burgers (you cook them in the toaster). They are covered in ketchup, with a little squirt of Just Mayo.

What I Ate Wednesday: Pickle Wrap | Orthodox and Vegan
And this is where I got desperate. I was in a rush to eat something Saturday afternoon, and didn’t have time to slice veggies. Instead I wrapped a pickle in a tortilla! To the left of the pickle is a big squirt of Just Mayo covered in hulled hemp hearts, topped with ketchup and crushed up tortilla chips. It was actually pretty good!

What I Ate Wednesday: Stella's Lounge in Grand Rapids | Orthodox and Vegan
But do you know what’s even better than a pickle in a tortilla? Brunch at Stella’s Lounge! Our parish transferred the feast of the Entrance of the Theotokos to Sunday, so after Liturgy my friend and I headed to Stella’s for a special meal. What you see here is Ride the Lightning Salad, Chronic Fries, Onion Rings, French Toast Sandwich filled with Tofu Veggie Scramble with Old Grand Dad Maple Syrup, and a side of Poor Man’s Potato Wing Hash. Oh, and a celebratory Espresso Old Fashioned 🙂

What I Ate Wednesday: Curry Leaf Indian Cuisine | Orthodox and Vegan
Today I finally tried the Indian restaurant that opened near my house quite a few months ago, Curry Leaf. A lot of Indian food contains cream or ghee, but not all of it. I went for the lunch buffet, and the host showed us which items were vegan. Indian food is great because:
A. It tastes good
B. Lots of legumes = protein and
C. It tastes really, really wonderful.
And nearly everything shown here is gluten free, except probably the pancake thing.

What I Ate Wednesday: Coco Jazz Thai Coconut Snack | Orthodox and Vegan
Lastly, I stopped at my favorite Asian market to pickup some jackfruit and decided to take a look at the clearance racks – I love getting a good deal! I found this chili flavored toasted coconut snack from Thailand, Coco Jazz, for only 50 cents. These little bags (one to two servings each) would be great to keep around the house or office for when you need a little extra something.

What’s the weirdest thing you ever ate in a pinch? Let us know in the comments!

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes & Ideas

Vegan Thanksgiving - Inflatable Turkey | Orthodox and Vegan
Well, I know I said I’d share some Thanksgiving recipes, but it turns out I wasn’t able to do a test run of my meal. However, I put together a Google Drive folder of recipes and ideas for a friend, and I figured it would be just easy to share that with you. Check out my Vegan Thanksgiving file, and feel free to share your tried and true recipes for everyone else to use (if you pass them on to me, I’ll add them to the file).

So far I’ve got:
-Classic Green Bean Casserole
-Maple Glazed Carrots
-Scalloped Potatoes
-Dressing/Stuffing
-Sweet Potatoes

And links to recipes for:
Scalloped Pineapple Bread Pudding (okay, that one is mine from long ago)
-Cranberry Port Sauce
-Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potato & Apple
-Roasted Beets with Pistachios, Herbs, and Orange
-Rosemary Potato Focaccia Rolls
-Simple Dinner Rolls
-Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa Salad
-Seitan Turkey
-Gluten Free Chickpea Cutlets with Mushroom Gravy
-Three Versions of Pumpkin (relatively healthy, gluten free, more traditional but vegan)
-Caramel Apple Cheesecake

See anything missing?? Let me know and I’ll do some digging for a recipe for you 🙂

What I Ate Wednesday: Basically, Beans.

Whoa, it’s Wednesday again already, and the second day of the Nativity Fast! If you’re in need of more fasting food ideas, check out my What Do Vegans Eat page. Today we’re talkin’ about beans. Two simple ways to use them. Plus….everyone’s favorite, PIZZA.

What I Ate Wednesday: Walnut & Bean Tacos | Orthodox and Vegan
Let us begin with tacos. Beans in tacos probably doesn’t sound very impressive, but consider a small amount of beans (about 1/4 C) was blended with 1 C of soaked & drained walnuts, seasoned with cumin, chili powder, a clove of garlic, salt, and pepper to make a nice taco “meat”. You can do this without the beans, but the beans hold everything together and make it easier to eat without making a mess.
The tacos are also stuffed with a yummy salad of romaine, green onions, avocado, and lime juice with a touch of salt.

What I Ate Wednesday: Domino's Pizza | Orthodox and Vegan
I’m not sure if I ever had Domino’s Pizza before going vegan, but definitely not since (and it’s been a while). They’re a little skimpy with toppings – most chains are – but it was pretty good for what it is. Only the thin crust is vegan, and I had to eat an entire 10″ pizza to feel satisfied. You’ll want to order the regular sauce, and you might also want to add a Dipping Cup or two – the garlic sauce, BBQ sauce, and hot buffalo sauce flavors are vegan.

What I Ate Wednesday: Chili Pasta | Orthodox and Vegan
We had a can of Bush’s Chili Starter in the cupboard. On an oil day, I sauteed onions and green peppers, then added a can of drained diced tomatoes and some soy crumbles, seasoned everything with salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, and chili powder, and then added the chili starter. After simmering a few minutes, I added angel hair pasta to the pan, poured in the reserved liquid from the tomatoes and a bit of extra water, covered the pan and let the pasta soak up all the flavors.

On an oil free day, I just boiled the angel hair pasta as usual. After draining, I mixed the pasta with Newman’s Own Black Bean & Corn Salsa – it’s my favorite salsa!

What’s your favorite way to prepare beans on oil free days? Comment below!

Nativity Fast 2016 Begins Tuesday, November 15 (Tomorrow!)

Orthodox Icon of the Nativity of Christ | Orthodox and Vegan
Hey guys! In case you missed it earlier, my Nativity Fast page is active again with fasting guidelines and meal ideas. I’ll have it up all throughout the fast in case you need to reference it. I also wanted to share a few links for Lenten staples, some are my own recipes and others I found for you on other vegan websites. Check these out:

Oat Milk Use on cold cereals for breakfast
Coconut Milk Cheese Use for sandwiches, quesadillas, or melt it down for a cheesy sauce (I’ve found great prices on coconut milk and agar powder at Asian markets)
Veggie Lunch Meat For school lunches, or a great addition to hummus wraps
Crusty Bread Great with soup – or for a special treat, spread with peanut butter when the bread is fresh from the oven
Banana Chocolate Ice Cream

There’s always my guide to Ordering Vegan at Taco Bell if you’re in a pinch 🙂

Potatoes!
I also recommend buying a giant bag of potatoes and baking a dozen or so at a time. Keep the potatoes in the fridge so they’re ready when you need something quick. You can nuke them in the microwave, and they’ll be great topped with a tahini sauce (or margarine/olive oil on an oil day).

Chia Pudding!
You can also make an interesting treat with chia seeds. If you make the sweetened version of the oat milk with vanilla, combine 1 1/4 C oat milk with 1/4 chia seeds and let it set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Stir again and let sit another 1 1/2 hours and you will have a delicious pudding. Make it banana flavored simply by adding some mashed banana.

Of course I’ll be sharing recipes with you during the next few weeks, and doing my regular What I Ate Wednesday posts. If you want to take a look at past WIAW posts, be sure to check out What Vegans Eat.

And as always, post any comments or questions and I’ll do my best to help!

Happy Fasting!!!!

What I Ate Wednesday: Homemade Veggie Burgers

Time for another edition of What I Ate Wednesday! Sorry it’s late, I was distracted last night watching a little map of the US turning blue and red.

Just want to point out the Nativity Fast begins next Tuesday, November 15. The Nativity Fast page is up now, and I’ll be sharing more actual recipes along with WIAW posts, including a new veggie burger recipe!

What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan Quesadillas | Orthodox and Vegan
I know I already posted tahini quesadillas recently, but…these are with my Tahini Nacho Cheez sauce instead of just plain tahini 🙂 And a nice big side of guac.

What I Ate Wednesday: One Pot Pasta | Orthodox and Vegan
If you hate doing dishes, a one pot meal is the way to go. Did you know you can actually cook pasta right in the sauce? Heat the sauce, add pasta, add enough water to cover and then bring it to a low boil. When it’s done, it’s DONE. You could even eat it right out of the pan if no one is looking.

What I Ate Wednesday: Dagwood Sandwich | Orthodox and Vegan
This giant sandwich contains two veggie burger patties made with a combination of soy crumbles and vital wheat gluten (seitan). My dad thought the crumbles would work like ground beef to make hamburger patties, but sadly they do not. I processed them with the VWG, sauteed onions, kidney beans, and seasonings and it worked perfectly. Well, almost perfectly – they were a little soft, but they’ve inspired me to do a seitan burger recipe!

What I Ate Wednesday: Big Salad | Orthodox and Vegan
Sometimes I even eat salad. Just throw in whatever vegetables you have, make it big, and add some nuts or seeds for protein so you won’t be hungry 5 minutes later. Fat is good, too, as long as you don’t go crazy. Lemon juice and olive oil with a little salt is my favorite way to dress a salad on oil days, and tahini sauce on oil-free days.

What I Ate Wednesday: Garlic Butter Crescent Rolls | Orthodox and Vegan
I was very bad last night while I stared at the map. I bought canned crescent rolls, filled them with hemp seeds, and brushed them with garlic dipping sauce from Papa John’s. It’s extra wonderful if you put a few drops of the garlic sauce in the filling, too. Then I made popcorn…with the garlic sauce. And I ate 1/4 of my St. Demetrios Cake.

If you have any requests for the Nativity Fast, post them below!!

What I Ate Wednesday: Takeout and Baking

Hello there, friends, and welcome to the latest edition of What I Ate Wednesday! Last week I was very busy baking!!I tried a new recipe, an old family recipe, a just-throw-in-whatever-you-have recipe, and a brand new item from my favorite non-authentic pizzeria. Are you excited to hear more? GREAT. Read on.

Pan Pizza from Papa John's | Orthodox and Vegan
So, Papa John’s started selling pan pizza a few months ago, but they never updated their website’s nutrition guide with the ingredients. I emailed the manager from the local franchise, and last week he was *finally* able to confirm the new crust and sauce are vegan. There was a special going, any two pizzas with three toppings for $20, so I got a pan pizza and a regular XL pizza – that was enough to feed me three times, and I still put two meals’ worth in the freezer! By the way, the sauce on the pan pizza is excellent. I’ll do a guide for ordering vegan at Papa John’s in the near future.

Cabbage & Potato Bake | Orthodox and Vegan
I think I made this on Friday because it’s an oil-free dish. I lined the pan with leaves of cabbage, then filled it with chopped cabbage, onions, fresh garlic, diced potatoes, and chopped mushrooms. I covered it with tahini sauce, and seasoned it with salt and pepper. Then I covered it in foil and baked it until the potatoes were tender, removed the foil and continued baking until it browned. The tahini sauce thickened up and it was creamy and delicious.

St. Demetrios Cake | Orthodox and Vegan
St. Demetrios is special to me, and I wanted to make a special cake for his feast day on October 26. I need to tweak the recipe a little before I share it, but I can tell you it is flavored with lemon and blueberry. It wasn’t bad for the first try, and I think I’ll knock it out next time.

Syrian Bread | Orthodox and Vegan
And I also spent half a day baking Syrian bread with Tete. Since I had only made it once before, about 15 years ago, I had to be more of a watcher than a participant, but I think she might let me touch the dough next time 🙂 It’s actually pretty much the same exact dough recipe I use for spinach pies, the trick is making it into perfectly shaped beautiful loaves that are just the right thickness, and lightly browned on top. Someone requested this recipe two years ago. I’m really sorry it’s taken so long, but if you’re still around, I’ll probably be ready to post it sometime during the Nativity Fast.

What have you guys been eating this week?

November is World Vegan Month

World Vegan Day | Orthodox and Vegan
I’m pretty much the worst vegan ever, I didn’t realize until today that November is World Vegan Month! So I’m just putting this out here: I’m always, always open to your questions about How to Go Vegan – whether it’s how to veganize a recipe, where to eat, what to shop for, or answering questions about why vegans abstain from certain foods – but especially during this month, please feel free to post any questions or comments that I can share here with everyone.

Next week I’ll be sharing Thanksgiving recipes, and soon I’ll be adding lots of recipes for the Nativity Fast! And as usual, I’ll be doing What I Ate Wednesday posts to give you ideas. If you have a special request, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Fun & Helpful Links:
Check out the Vegan Society’s Veganalyser to see an estimate of how many animals you can save by going vegan 😀
Join What F.A.T. Vegans Eat on facebook to see all the fabulous homemade and store-bought vegan foods people are enjoying all over the world.
Visit Barnivore.com to find vegan-friendly beer & wine (luckily most booze is vegan – hooray!!).

Have a happy, cruelty-free and DELICIOUS November!

What I Ate Wednesday: Fried Chick’n, Candy Bars

Welcome to another What I Ate Wednesday! I had a very good week of cooking real meals for myself, got to attend a vegan potluck, and forgot to cancel my Doorganics delivery which means…I have lots of fresh produce I *must* eat 🙂 And so far I’m having fun with it, but I also sneaked in a few snacks because I’m a junk food junkie.

What I Ate Wednesday: Ritter Sport Chocolate Covered Marzipan | Orthodox and Vegan
This Ritter Sport candy bar is actually from a couple weeks ago, but I was bad last week and didn’t post at all. I had to share it because I want the world to know sweet almond paste covered in dark chocolate is wonderful.

What I Ate Wednesday: Tahini Quesadillas | Orthodox and Vegan
I made these oil free quesadillas for a fasting day. Very simple – two corn tortillas with tahini spread on one and refried beans on the other, and thinly sliced onion in the middle. Season if you wish. Just heat them in a skillet over medium low heat on both sides, no oil necessary. I dipped them in a store bought taco sauce.

What I Ate Wednesday: Fried Chick'n & Mashed Potatoes | Orthodox and Vegan
I experimented with vital wheat gluten one day and made these chicken-style cutlets, dredged them in seasoned flour, and pan-fried them. I looked all over for the recipe today and can’t find it – which would’ve been fine because I didn’t like it all that well, but I repurposed the cutlets later in the week and they were delicious. I’ll have to get something together for you all later. (And yes, those are my old school headphones, and yes I do actually write things down with pen and paper!)

What I Ate Wednesday: Ethiopian Combo Platter | Orthodox and Vegan
Friday my mom and I had a very long day, and we decided to end it with the All You Can Eat special at Little Africa, our favorite Ethiopian restaurant. It was all we hoped it would be.

What I Ate Wednesday: Vegan Potluck | Orthodox and Vegan
Sunday I went to a vegan potluck hosted by a rare In Real Life vegan Orthodox friend. I repurposed my cutlets for this occasion by cubing them, and marinating them in Creamy Italian dressing for one day before dredging them in the seasoned flour and pan-frying them. IT WAS SO MUCH BETTER!!! I served the chick’n with faux spanakorizo (I forgot to buy spinach, so it was just rice with onions and a massive amount of dill, with salt, pepper, and a touch of garlic. And a lot of olive oil).
There was also a veggie stirfry, sweet potatoes, and mac n cheez. And plenty of wine. It was a good night.

Doorganics Delivers Organic Produce to Your Door | Orthodox and Vegan
Monday I got my Doorganics delivery. Not too exciting when you see it like this, but…

What I Ate Wednesday: Potato & Mushroom Tacos | Orthodox and Vegan
that night I used some of the potatoes, mushrooms, and fresh garlic to make tacos! They have refried beans smeared on the inside to hold everything together.

What I Ate Wednesday: Braised Carrots with Pasta | Orthodox and Vegan
Last night I braised all the carrots in margarine with a little plain unsweetened almond milk and a sprinkling of salt, and served them (to myself) on a bed of pasta with cabbage. I sauteed the cabbage in olive oil with salt, pepper, garlic, oregano, and basil until it was tender. I added angel hair pasta, and just enough plain unsweetened almond milk to cover it. It thickened up nicely without any added flour.

What I Ate Wednesday: Thumbs Up Candy Bar (Tastes Like Butterfinger!!!) | Orthodox and Vegan
And finally, after dinner I treated myself to the Thumbs Up candy car I bought at Food Fight! Grocery in Portland. You’ll notice the wrapper reads, “crunchy, peanut-buttery” as in Crispety, Crunchety, Peanut Buttery BUTTERFINGER! This is Butterfinger’s slightly smaller, more expensive hipster vegan cousin. Did I mention Butterfinger was my favorite candy bar when I was a kid? Well it was. And Go Max Go makes a bunch of other knock-off candy bars, too – check them out at Vegan Essentials.

What are you guys eating this week? Let me know in the comments!