Thursday, July 28, 2011

Showers!..vegan style ;)

Over the past month or so I was lucky enough to have two awesome bridal showers for my upcoming wedding! (44 days and counting!!)

My first was in June in long island, NY with a lot of my family from that area.
I know firsthand that Long Island is hard to find vegan-friendly establishments, so I was excited to see what my mom had planned and come up with!
Where she picked definitely did not dissapoint..

I knew the shower was that day, so I got ready with my mom & sis in the morning and Jason drove me over to the place in the afternoon.
It was at New Grand Buffet in Islandia, and it was a really great time.

The theme was cherry blossom

It all looked so beautiful and the decorations and favors were wonderful!

The buffet didnt offer toooo many vegan options, but the staff brought our a personal plate of veggie sushi rolls and they also had a teriyaki station where you could choose just about any vegetable and they stir fried it in this amazing sauce! It was definitely easy to find something vegan friendly here, I loved the idea of a buffet so everyone can get what they really want!

My mom also went to the trouble to order a vegan cake for the shower! She got chocolate with a Delicious peanut butter frosting. it was realllly good!

Also - the favors were cherry blossom candles as well as vegan chocolate wedding rings!

The shower was great and it was so wonderful to see family and have everyone there!

My 2nd shower was this past weekend -- and not only was it awesome, but it was a COMPLETE surprise!! I thought I was going to Jason's family's place for the weekend and stopping by a pampered chef party on saturday at his sister's..little did I know it was actually a bridal shower for me! I'm not the biggest fan of surprises (that whole having to be in control thing...) but this was definitely a great one!!

Me with some of the ladies from the shower..sorority friends, girlfriends, my mom! I was so surprised to see everybody!

The food was AWESOME! Emily ( my maid of honor aka my bff!) had catering done from Miss Rachel's Pantry which I have heard about numerous times on blogs and everywhere saying how GREAT it is.. it did NOT dissapoint!

These were the vegan BLT bites - toasted bread with smokey coconut "bacon" tomato and lettuce..
And the Pizettes with roasted tomato, olive tapenade and arugula...

These were the amazing vegan quesadillas with mango salsa!

She also made vegan seitan skewers with pineapple and grape tomatoes, I didn't get a pic of those though!

Uhh, can you say YUM?! I wish I worked in center city to get in on her lunch club!

The desserts definitely did not dissapoint either!

My friend Kate, who is one of my bridesmaids(!!) made the delicious vegan cupcakes! It was her first vegan baking adventure, and she did an amazing job! I was lucky enough to try both flavors ;)

Emily's mom went to vegan baking as well -- and made delicious lemon cookies and heart shaped sugar cookies, which were both SO delicious!

All of the fabulous vegan candy didn't heart either ;)

Both of my showers were definitely wonderful and will be things I will remember forever as great moments with such supportive friends && family. I'm truly a lucky gal to have such great people in my life!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh, sing one we know

For a while now at my old apartment and now my new one, I've been getting the magazine Vegetarian Times, thanks to my fiance who ordered it for me :)

I always love looking through them and bookmarking recipes that I can't wait to make.
They always seem to fall to the back burner though, and I have so many issues that it's hard to go back to see what I truly want to make.

I made two the past couple of weeks from two different issues that were definitely "blog worthy."

The first one was from the May/June 2010 issue! This whole issue was jam packed with recipes that I wanted to make.
I actually chose one that wasn't even vegan! Of course, I vegan-ized it but subbing the cheese with vegan cheese.

The magazine had a whole section on "packets". these being food you put into aluminum foil packets and bake it and it comes out cooked and delicious!
I chose the "Tomato Mozzarella Packets with Polenta"
I have yet to cook with polenta prior to making this, i've only ever had it out and loved it but was intimidated by the packaging in grocery stores to even know what to do with it!

This was a VERY simple recipe and paired with a side of mixed greens, made a delicious meal!

Tomato-Mozzarella Pakcets with Polenta:
1 16 oz tube prepared garlic-herb polenta, cut into 16 slices. (I used sundried tomato)
2 large tomatoes, each cut into 8 slices
16 pitted olives (I omitted this)
4 tsp garlic olive oil (I just mixed olive oil with garlic powder)
2 t balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried italian herbs
4 oz (1 cup) shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (i used vegan gourmet)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place 4 16" lengths of aluminum foil on work surface. Fold foil in half from short side. Unfold. Shape corners and edges of one half into semicircular "bowls" with 1/2 inch sides. Coat insides with cooking spray.
Place 4 polenta slices, slightly overlapping in each foil semicircle. Arrange 4 tomato slices over polenta. Drizzle each serving with 1 tsp garlic olive oil and 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegarn, and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp italian herbs, season with salt and pepper. Top each with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. Fold other half of foil over ingredients, and seal edges in overlapping folds until packets are sealed. Transfer to baking sheet and bake 25-30 minutes.
Remove baking sheet from oven, and transfer packets to serving plates.
It will be hot when you open them, and it was easiest for me to dump them upside down (that's why you don't see the cheese in my photo, it was on the bottom from flipping it )

I would definitely make these again, they were a super easy, delicious meal! i'm trying to find more things to do with polenta now!

The other recipe I recently made was from the Vegetarian Times recent issue - the July/August 2011 magazine. this magazine also had a TON of recipes I'm planning on making soon!!

I made the Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna first from it. Since I already had vegan cheese from the polenta left over, I wanted to use it up instead of ending up staying in the fridge too long and throwing it out!

This recipe was quick, easy, and I loved using zucchini instead of the traditional pasta noodles!!

Zucchini-Quinoa Lasagna: (serves 6..I halved it for the two of us, and still had leftovers for lunch!)
2 large zucchini, cut lengthwise into 12 1/4 inch thick slices
1 t salt
2 c low sodium broth
1 c quinoa
1/2 c tomato sauce
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 t dried oregano
1/4 c fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1 25 oz jar marinara sauce
1/2 c shredded vegan mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place zucchini slices on bed of paper towels and sprinkle with salt, then cover with paper towels and let stand to release moisture.
Bring broth, quinoa, tomato sauce, onion, and oregano to a boil in saucepan.
Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and summer 25 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, parsley, and cream cheese if using.
Spoon 1/3 cup marinar sauce over bottom of 8 inch square baking dish. Blot remaining moisture and salt from zucchini slices and lay 4 zucchini slices over marinara sauce in pain. Spoon half of quinoa over zucchini, and cover with 1/3 cup marinara. Repeat with 4 more zucchini slices, remaining quinoa, and 1/3 cup marinara. Top with the rest of stuff and the shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until zucchini is tender and the top is bubbly.

This recipe was awesome, hands down. It's from the blog section of the magazine,and from blog!
I hadn't heard of that blog until the magazine came out, so it introduced me to a new blog to read up on all the time! :)

I'm glad I've been trying more recipes from Veg Times, it really is such a great magazine to have! Their cookbook has been really great to flip through as well! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

i don't know what i'm looking for but i know that i want to look some more

When life (or your mom) hands you a big bag of blueberries..
you make blueberry muffins!

In reference to the blueberries that my mother and I picked a few weekends ago while I was home, I wasn't sure how I could use them all up without wasting the delicious berries if they went bad!
Sure I could freeze some, but fresh, picked yourself blueberries deserve to be eaten sans freezer!

Jason requested blueberry muffins for quick breakfasts throughout the week..what a fab idea!

I went over a few muffin recipes, before finally going to my favorite baking cookbook.
The Joy of Vegan Baking.
this book has never failed me!
i've made quite a lot of the recipes from it, and they have all been stellar results.
These muffins were no exception!

Can you tell that sunflowers are my favorite yet? ;)

Blueberry Lemon Muffins:
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat white flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
zest of 2 lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup milk (i used unsweetened almond breeze)
1/3 cup canola oil (i used vegetable, and only 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoons lemon extract (i didnt have this..)
1 tablespoon of white vinegar (i used apple cider)
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt and lemon zest.
In a large bowl, mix sugar, milk, oil, extract, and vinegar. mix well.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed. Don't overstir!
Gently fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
Fill muffin tins 2/3rd fulls.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 22 minutes.
Let cool before devouring ;)

They were great and lasted a while, even after keeping them in the fridge after a few days.
Joy of vegan baking never lets me down :)