Friday, July 29, 2011

Mama's Recipes For (kind of) Healthy Eating!

My roommate has really been working on eating a super healthy and balanced (and cruelty free) diet. Some of it is a little on the extreme side for me but I've been trying to make meals that we can all enjoy together. He has cut out all meat/dairy products (which is awesome) but he is also trying to not eat anything with oil or salt, which is a tad harder for me personally. There is nothing like a big pot of veggies sauteed in olive oil or edamame with a sprinkle of kosher salt over the top. I am not really willing to totally give that stuff up but I am willing to cut back and accomodate someone who wants to live a cruelty free lifestyle.

Here are some of the recipes I've been working on but I don't feel totally confident in reviewing them on here. I'll just give you a taste of what I've been making for myself and my roommates.

(Photo courtesy of Food Network)

Linguine with Avocado and Arugula Pesto

So obviously I tweaked this a bit to cater to certain dietary needs but overall this pesto was pretty awesome. I left out the cheese and salt and added about 1/4 c. of nutritional yeast instead. Instead of pasta, I shaved zucchini into long strips and quickly blanched them in boiling water. I did not like the noodles and I'm not sure anyone else did either. They were too slimy and gooey for me and I decided to cut up a raw zucchini and just put some pesto over the top. That was pretty righteous. I would recommend the pesto but I think I'll stick to my normal whole wheat pasta.

(Photo courtesy of Vegetarian Times)

Coconut-Banana Smoothie

This has been my breakfast pretty much all week. I love it! I cut up a fresh pineapple and a few bananas and froze the pieces on a cookie sheet until they were firm. I've just been tossing those into my blender with the 1/4 c. coconut milk and plain organic soymilk (I skip the apple juice concentrate). It's so cold and tasty and just a perfect only slightly naughty treat in the morning.

(Photo courtesy of The Kitchn)

Spicy Oven Roasted Chickpeas

OH MY GOD. This is now my most favorite vegan snack in the world. It is easy, healthy and easy customizable to your tastes. I would not recommend putting a whole tablespoon of salt on one can of chickpeas, that is just way too much. I used maybe 1/2 teaspoon? It's hard to say. Instead of garam masala (which would be awesome), I used curry powder. Next time I go to the grocery store, I plan on getting like 10 cans of chickpeas and just trying a million combinations. Sugar and cinnamon? An Italian blend of oregano and basil? How about some chili powder and cumin? It all sounds too good to be true.

These are a few that I just think sound really good and want to make in the near future:

(Photo courtesy of Yum Universe)

Roasted Garlic and Fresh Lemon Aioli (totally vegan!)

(Photo courtesy of Post Punk Kitchen)

Shitake Banh Mi Salad

I've never had a Banh Mi sandwich, but if this is a good representative of that sandwich in salad form, I'm game. Pickled veggies and mushrooms? Need I say more?

(Photo/illustrations courtesy of The Vegan Stoner)

Peanut Stew

I love The Vegan Stoner. They make easy and awesome looking meals. I highly recommend checking them out! PS - The illustrations are kind of the best part too.

If you have suggestions for whole foods and awesome recipes I can make, please feel free to link away! I would appreciate it. You will get another recipe review soon! I promise!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Spinach Almond Pesto (one of my own recipes!)

I hardly ever share my own recipes here (since I don't have as many as I would like) but I want to share with you my favorite pesto recipe that I use all the time:

Spinach Almond Pesto

4 c. spinach (or a 6 ounce bag of spinach)
1 lemon, juiced
3 garlic cloves, cut in a few pieces, but no need to mince
2/3 c. parmesan cheese
½ c. almonds (I use raw, but toasted would be super nice!)
¼ t. ground black peppercorns
¾ t. kosher salt
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil (use the good stuff since this will be raw)

Throw all ingredients (excluding oil) into a food processor or blender and whir for a few pulses until chopped pretty fine. Stream in oil until the pesto is fully incorporated. Use right away or let sit in a covered container for up to 2 days in the fridge or a couple of weeks in the freezer. The spinach might give off some water so just skim the liquid off whenever you use the pesto. Enjoy!

You could easily substitute arugula or basil for the spinach or walnuts or pine nuts for the almonds! Make it your own!

I just created a new e-mail address for The No Meat Mama ( so if you have any questions, requests, comments or baking/catering work you want to give me (please? haha), you can reach me there!

I'll be back soon with more food and recipes and know how and awesomeness. Stay cool everybody!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

DRUMROLL PLEASE...............

The winner is............... the lovely Kris Anne! (I randomly generated a number from 1-8 and got #1! And I'm at work, so I probably really shouldn't be doing this here, haha.)

Congratulations!!!! Please e-mail me your address at and I will ship it out this weekend!

Check back because I'm always feeling benevolent and having giveaways. : ) Thanks everyone and keep reading!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Seitan Pepperoni 5/5 Spoons (How sexy is my Twin Peaks background?)

My world changed when my lovely friend Kris Anne introduced me to the magical world of making my own seitan. She made a "fried chicken" recipe from La Dolce Vegan! and I was hooked. I think the next day I went to the natural foods section of my then local grocery store and stocked up on a few boxes of vital wheat gluten. I love Arrowhead Mills because it is affordable and always works right for me but it's a tad harder to find. I always stock up when I head back home to Wisconsin. It's strange, I live in Chicago but I stock up on my wheat gluten back home. It's kind of cute.

(Photos courtesy of Food Doodles)

So since I regularly use "wheat meat" to substitute some of my old favorite meaty meals like chicken I figured I would try pepperoni! Although I would liken this pepperoni to summer sausage. Do you remember that stuff? I loved it when I was younger. I sliced up this "pepperoni" and put it on a sandwich and it seriously tasted like sausage to me! I was blown away. And here are my notes (because I had to work with what I had at the time!):

-- I definitely added quite a bit more red pepper flakes and it was awesomely spicy. I would dare say about 1 1/2 t. were added in.
-- Instead of tomato sauce, I thawed out some tomato paste and used that. I took 1/4 c. of the paste (equivalent to 4 T.) and added 1/4 c. of water to it and mixed it until smooth. You still add the 2/3 c. of water too. I like the tomato paste because I think it added a very deep flavor that might not have been there with just the sauce.
-- I had no liquid smoke! No worries, I got some the other day at Whole Foods, so I can't wait to add it in next time around. I just used some low-sodium soy sauce instead.

I followed the directions perfectly and the thing came out looking amazing. I didn't even wait until it was cool to try it. I still have about half a log left (after snacking and eating it in sandwiches) and will put it on some homemade pizza soon. My favorite thing about this seitan is its versatility. It tastes great anywhere I put it. I imagine pan frying it and adding it to some baked mac and cheese would be amazing. Or cutting it up and adding it to a salad. Or just pulling it out of the fridge and dunking it in mustard. It's all good.

REMEMBER! I am having a giveaway that you can find right below this post or at this link, so enter and you may win! It closes Tuesday at noon and then I will announce the winner. See you soon!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Okay, so I have to be honest with you. I totally messed up my first No Meat Mama giveaway. The number that was picked was of someone I didn't know and I left the post for them here for a short period of time to see. They didn't respond and I quickly took it down in frustration. It was silly and not professional (which I'm not sure if I am supposed to be or not, haha) and this giveaway will totally make up for the last one! (PS - Sorry Rob, whoever and wherever you are, maybe you will win this time?)

Now on to the good stuff!

I love buying fair trade and organic when I can. And that's not often. I am not being endorsed or paid by Equal Exchange, I just believe in their products. And since I love you all so much, I am giving away a free 8 ounce canister of Equal Exchange's fair trade and organic baking cocoa!

Here is the DL from Equal Exchange themselves:

"Our delicious organic fairly traded cocoa baking powder is perfect for brownies, cakes, cookies and countless desserts. The small scale growers of the CONACADO cooperative carefully cultivate their cacao trees with gentle, shade-grown, chemical-free farming methods. This creates the natural environment preferred by cacao trees as well as native wildlife and migratory birds. Then the co-op selects the best beans for special post-harvest processing, and processes the beans into powder. Vegan. Manufactured on equipment that processes products containing soy, wheat, eggs & dairy."

Okay, so how do you enter this fabulous sweepstakes that I am offering to you? I just want you to answer one question for me on this blog in the comment section:

Tell me about your ideal setting to drink a really good cup of coffee. Or tea. Or any other beverage that gets you peppy in the AM hours.

I'm not talking about guzzling a pot of coffee running out the door to work (unless that's ideal for you, which I don't understand, but more power to you.) Mine is waking up early on the weekend with nothing planned (except maybe going to the beach) and sitting in bed reading while the sun blasts through my window. Ahhhhhhh.... doesn't that sound delicious?

Leave a comment here or on the Facebook page (which you should like by the way, it's in the fetal stage, so bear with me.) The giveaway will end next Tuesday, the 12th at noon CST. Pass it on to your friends and everyone else who loves to bake! Or make hot chocolate! I will announce the winner next week and make a post. Good luck everyone!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vegan Chickpea Cutlets and Vegetarian Gravy (and other fixins!) 5/5 Spoons

IF I COULD GIVE THIS MORE THAN 5/5 SPOONS, I WOULD!!!! But it's my blog, so I can do it if I want, right? I actually equated this meal with making love to a beautiful stranger. And since I can't really say that I've done that (ahem, in the last few years), I imagine it is like eating this meal.

I've made the Chickpea Cutlets quite a few times before and they are kind of time consuming but totally taste like a cruelty-free Thanksgiving stuffing formed into a patty. And I can't really say that I was ever one for gravy but knowing I can easily make this recipe without any meat is amazing.

(Photo courtesy of Soundly Vegan)

And now the notes:

-- I always double the cutlet recipe. It gives you about 8 really big cutlets and I love having these leftover the next day for lunch or dinner. As long as you are making them, go all out. And as I'm typing this I realize that I should bake these instead of pan frying them and stick them in a sandwich. YUM!
-- You could bake these but I prefer to fry them to make them crazy crispy. A little oil never hurt anyone.
-- All I can say about the gravy is BE PATIENT. I have a lot of patience when it comes to food (sometimes) but even I kind of rushed the thickening process. I made a slurry as to not make my gravy lumpy. Next time I might try supplementing some cornstarch the same way to speed up the process.
-- This makes a lot of gravy. I doubled the recipe and had to freeze about 4 c. of it. And that's after I totally doused my food, so remember that when making it.
-- I used dried parsley instead of fresh. Whatever, I don't think it does all that much in general.
-- And you could easily make this vegan with some Earth Balance or your favorite vegan butter alternatives. All I had was unsalted butter in the house, so that's what I went for.

(Photo courtesy of Pham Fatale)

And since this was like my Sunday Night Dinner gone wild (and um, on a Monday) I made roasted asparagus and creamy mashed potatoes. I have no recipe for the potatoes because I always change it up depending on what I am feeling and what I have in the fridge. This time I used milk, butter, sour cream, fresh dill from my herb garden, salt and pepper. And I always use Yukon Gold potatoes because I think they are by far the creamiest for mashed spuds. This meal is just a melange of salty meatiness. And if that sounds gross to you, sorry. I love salty and meaty tasting foods just like the rest of America. I recommend you take a few hours out of a slow day and make this meal and take in the delicious flavors!

Up next, (if it works, since I'm baking it right now), Seitan Pepperoni!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Hello all! I haven't forgotten about you, I could never do that!

Obviously summer is a busy time for everyone.... I went home for a visit and a wedding, have been working some temp jobs and just generally have been outside soaking up as much of the sun and fun as I can.

Starting this week I will have more chances to catch up with you especially since I'm making Vegan Chickpea Cutlets, Veggie Gravy, Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus for dinner tonight! You will want to join me for that this week, I'm sure.

Let me leave you with this "interpretation" of an American flag that I made last night. I went the easiest and most American route I could and use a boxed cake mix, fat free Cool Whip for topping and fresh strawberries and blueberries to top it all off. It's not my normal thing to do but I know it's delicious and I wanted something easy so I could enjoy my holiday like everyone else!

See you later this week!