Tag Archives For: vegan

10 Mar, 2016

Thug Kitchen Party Grub

/ posted in: FoodReading Thug Kitchen Party Grub Thug Kitchen Party Grub Guide by Thug Kitchen, LLC
on October 13th 2015
Pages: 240
Genres: Cooking, Vegetarian & Vegan
Format: Hardcover
Source: Owned
Buy on Amazon (affiliate link)

From the duo behind New York Times bestseller, Thug Kitchen, comes the next installment of kick-ass recipes with a side of attitude. Thug Kitchen Party Grub Guide answers the question that Matt and Michelle have heard most from their fans: How the hell are you supposed to eat healthy when you hang around with a bunch of a**holes who don't care what they put in their pie holes? The answer: You make a bomb-ass plant-based dish from Thug Kitchen. Featuring over 100 recipes to attend or host parties of any kind, Party Grub Guide combines exciting, healthy, vegan food with easy-to-follow directions and damn entertaining commentary. From passed appetizers like Deviled Chickpea Bites to main events like Mexican Lasagna, Thug Kitchen Party Grub Guide is here to make sure you are equipped with dishes to bring the flavor without the side of fat, calories, and guilt. Also included are cocktail recipes, because sometimes these parties need a pick-me-up of the liquid variety.


I love my Thug Kitchen cookbook so I was really excited to see that they had a second cookbook out.  I got it from the library first and then bought my own copy.  My husband was concerned about this.  He rightly pointed out that I am not in fact a “social mother-f*cker”.  I told him that I liked to make the recipes for myself and maybe I’d share with him.  He went off muttering about me being the exact opposite of what the book was for.

I keep pushing back posting this review because I keep making more recipes from this book that I love!

I’ve made the Butternut Squash Queso-ish Dip.  No one is going to actually think this is cheese based but it is a nice creamy sauce that I like to put on pasta along with some salsa.  Good way to sneak some extra squash into your diet too!

I’m excited about the Artichoke Dip and the Rosemary Caramel Corn.  The dip was slightly disturbing to look at but tasted great, especially mixed with some salsa.  The caramel for the caramel corn didn’t melt for me as nicely as it was supposed to but it still tasted pretty good.

The Meatball Subs made with kidney beans and lentils were a hit with the omnivorous husband.  Definitely making those again.

The Creamy White Bean sandwich spread is good for a vegan who wants something on a sandwich but can’t have hummus because of food allergy concerns.

Everything I’ve made out of these cookbooks have been great so far.  If you have any interest in food made with healthy ingredients even if you aren’t normally eating a vegan diet, you should check these out.  The emphasis is on people who don’t cook often so the basics are explained.

25 Sep, 2015

Vegan Rum Caramel Cashew Butter Cups

/ posted in: Food

I made these cups based on Minimalist Baker’s Caramel Almond Butter Cups.

The hardest part of trying to be vegan for me hasn’t been cheese. It has been caramel. I love chocolate and caramel together. This vegan caramel sauce is amazing.  It is easier to make than date based caramel since I don’t have a super duper blender to make that smooth and it is less expensive.  Dates cost a lot.  The original recipe she posts for the caramel sauce isn’t vegan.  It used heavy cream.  The notes on the almond butter cups though explain making it with the thick part of coconut milk.  Do that.  It is incredible.

The caramel recipe makes a lot so you can find good uses for it.  So far I’ve used it as glue to attach chocolate chips to popcorn!

The cups are fussy to make but not as hard as I thought.  Just use a spoon to put a little melted chocolate in a mini cupcake liner and then spread some on the sides of the liner with the back of the spoon.  I used melted dark chocolate chips.  Then put in a small amount of a nut butter – powdered sugar mixture and pour some caramel sauce over it.  Top with more chocolate to seal it all and freeze.


Clean up ended up being tasty too. I had an improvised double broiler with chocolate all over the sides and some left over filling. I poured the filling in the double broiler and stirred. The filling scooped the chocolate off the sides. I rolled it in balls, refrigerated it to set, and called it truffles.

Not pretty but yummy.

I doubled the amounts used in the original recipe. I think I was a little heavy handed on the chocolate because it didn’t make double the expected amount of cups for me.

5 nonfiction books for vegetarians
26 Mar, 2015

Nonfiction Food Books for My Vegetarian Soul

/ posted in: FoodReading

Lately I’ve been reading a lot of food memoirs about people who are really into food. The more offbeat the food is, the better. They love their offal and bone marrow. I like food memoirs but I’d like to read one that actually has food that sounds good. I want to read one that doesn’t take numerous cheap shots at vegans. I want to read one that doesn’t make me feel bad about donkeys.

Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering MyselfFinding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich Roll

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve read Finding Ultra before but it is a good place to start with vegan memoirs. Rich Roll was a 40 year old former college athlete in the worst shape of his life when he decided to take control of his diet. His wife was into healthy eating so he decided to listen to her and almost accidentally became an ultra-endurance athlete.

Committed: A Rabble-Rouser's MemoirCommitted: A Rabble-Rouser’s Memoir by Dan Mathews


“Committed” is a bold, offbeat, globe-trotting memoir that shows how the most ridiculed punching bag in high school became an internationally renowned crusader for the most downtrodden individuals of all — animals. This irresistibly entertaining book recounts the random incidents and soul-searching that inspired a reluctant party boy to devote his life to a cause, without ever abandoning his sense of mischief and fun. “Everyone has a tense moment in their career that makes them wonder, how the hell did I get into this mess?” writes Mathews. “For me, it was when I was dressed as a carrot to promote vegetarianism outside an elementary school in Des Moines, and a pack of obese pig farmers showed up and peeled off slices of bologna for kids to throw at me.”from Goodreads

I’m not a PETA fan but this one might be interesting.

The Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern TimesThe Bloodless Revolution: A Cultural History of Vegetarianism from 1600 to Modern Times by Tristram Stuart


“The Bloodless Revolution is a pioneering history of puritanical revolutionaries, European Hinduphiles, and visionary scientists who embraced radical ideas from the East and conspired to overthrow Western society’s voracious hunger for meat. At the heart of this compelling history are the stories of John Zephaniah Holwell, survivor of the Black Hole of Calcutta, and John Stewart and John Oswald, who traveled to India in the eighteenth century, converted to the animal-friendly tenets of Hinduism, and returned to Europe to spread the word. Leading figures of the Enlightenment among them Rousseau, Voltaire, and Benjamin Franklin gave intellectual backing to the vegetarians, sowing the seeds for everything from Victorian soup kitchens to contemporary animal rights and environmentalism.” from Goodreads

I’m excited about this one! I’m already reserved it at my library.

Veganomics: The Surprising Science on What Motivates Vegetarians, from the Breakfast Table to the BedroomVeganomics: The Surprising Science on What Motivates Vegetarians, from the Breakfast Table to the Bedroom by Nick Cooney


“Vegetarians differ from omnivores not just in their eating habits but also in their psychology, personalities, friendship choices, even their sex lives. Extensive studies from around the world show that they vote differently, take different jobs, and have brains that fire differently. This research also provides insight into why people who consider themselves vegetarian may not really be vegetarian at all, and why so many fall off the vegetarian wagon.

Veganomics is a fascinating journey through the science on vegetarians and vegetarian eating, shedding new light on how and why people eat the way they do, and what impact their dietary choices can have on the world around us. Be forewarned: after reading this book, you may never look at vegetarians the same way again!” from Goodreads

This one may journey a bit into the “Ooooh, vegetarians are weird…” category. I’m not sure but I’ll check it out. I’d also like to recommend it to the fella who recently took my order for a specific breakfast sandwich “without meat” who responded, “Do you still want the bacon on that though?”

Vanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream OrchidVanilla: Travels in Search of the Ice Cream Orchid by Tim Ecott


“From the golden cups of Aztec emperors to the ice-cream dishes of U.S. presidents, Vanilla has mystified and tantalized man for centuries. The only orchid that produces an agriculturally valuable crop, vanilla can mask unpleasant tastes and smells, but also makes pleasant tastes stronger, smoother, and longer lasting. Because it has over four hundred separate flavor components, choosing premium vanilla beans is as complex as judging the aroma and taste of fine wine. Vanilla finds its way into over half of all dessert products sold worldwide, as well as the finest perfumes, well-known brands of rum and vodka, and even Coca-Cola and Pepsi.” from Goodreads

This isn’t a vegan book per se but vanilla is my favorite scent and flavor and I can’t think of a meat dish that uses it so it gets to go on the list.

30 Jul, 2014

What I Eat – Boring Vegetables!

/ posted in: Food

I had a conversation with a person recently who was bemoaning her inability to eat healthy food because “vegetables just aren’t interesting!”

I thought of her the other day when I was making this meal.


Watermelon with honey and a little oil and lime juice and fresh mint from the garden

The husband requested vegan meatball subs that he then wanted to melt real cheese over. I pointed out the inconsistency. He didn’t care. The meatballs are made from mushrooms, kale, and quinoa. They were really good.
Get the recipe here.

Zucchini sandwich cookies with vegan cream cheese icing. Recipe here.

Yep, good to know that you can’t be creative or interesting with vegetables.

03 Mar, 2014

All Done – Engine 2 Challenge

/ posted in: FamilyFood

This is the last day of the Engine 2 Diet Challenge that I’ve been doing for the last 28 days.

The guidelines were an all vegan diet with minimal/no processed food and no added oil. I wasn’t perfect. I had some dairy along the way mostly by accident. I ordered a veggie burger and didn’t realize it came with cheese until I bit into it, etc.

But, we’ve had big changes around here in the last 28 days.

  • As of the end of last week I’d lost 10 lbs.  It may be more now but I’m writing this before work and my only scale is at the office.  That happened even though I ate my weight in vegan food every day in Vegas.
  • Remember the aspirational jeans?  One pair went on but was too tight to wear in public and the other wouldn’t zip even though it was the same brand in the same size.  I tried them on yesterday.  I got frustrated because the one fit even worse than before when they were zipped up.  Then I realized I had them confused.  I had the pair on that I couldn’t zip up before!  The other pair is looser but still can’t go in public.  Maybe another 10 lbs from now?
  • The husband watched Forks Over Knifes all on his own.  He didn’t realize the connection to what I’m doing.  He decided to go vegetarian.
  • I had him meet with a dietician to tweak his diet so he had more energy and she told him everything I told him so he is leaning vegan with moments of cheese-fueled rebellion.


This is my refrigerator right now.  I did some meal prep yesterday and now I have to make enough food to feed the husband too.  There is veggie paella, potato soup from left over mashed potatoes, lentil sloppy joes, plain lentils, and three bean salad.

I plan on sticking with this since my results have been so good.  I’ve been vegan at home for a while now and I’ll try to stay that way when I’m out.  I’m not putting a label on it and saying I’m a vegan now especially when other people are cooking for me.  Vegetarian in those situations is good enough.

I’ve realized that I’m at the point in veganism where I was before I went vegetarian.  That was a gradual process over years until the last meat I was eating was Big Macs and Taco Bell meat.  I realized one day around 2000 in the Taco Bell drive-through that those were the worst meats possible to eat and that it would be easier to just answer “Yes” when people asked if I was vegetarian instead of explaining.  Right now I mainly want dairy in junk food.  Cheesecake, ice cream, brownies, and all manner of desserts.  I can make those vegan at home but if I’m out that is my temptation.  I don’t really need to be eating those so as long as I stay on healthy foods I’m fine.

I like this way of eating because I can pretty much eat all I want.  No worries about calorie counting.  If you don’t believe that scroll back to read the Vegas meal posts.  This is good for the husband too because he doesn’t like worrying about portion size.

It has been a good month for us.  I’ll keep you posted on how it is going for both of us.

25 Feb, 2014

Springdale Utah food

/ posted in: Food

I headed out of the city at the end of the convention to go to Zion National Park. I was staying in Springdale which is the town right outside the gates.

I really liked this town. It seems to exist solely for tourism but it isn’t tacky. There is no mini golf with flashing lights. This is a town that knows that the attraction is nature and they aren’t messing with it.

I was concerned about eating. I had researched the town on Happycow.com. This is a directory of vegetarian friendly restaurants. It mentioned a few places. I need to go post some updates on there. This town seems to be competing for vegans. There was a restaurant directory in my hotel room and each ad prominently said they catered to vegans. One Thai place that was on happycow claimed to be 23% vegan. I thought that was very precise of them. I wanted to go there but they were closed.

I ended up at The Spotted Dog on Thursday night. I had a garlic mushroom appetizer that has probably made me permanently immune to vampires. My main course was spaghetti. Decent but not amazing.

After hiking on Friday I went to Oscar’s Cafe for lunch. I loved their menu. They had an icon for vegetarian meals and an icon for meals that were easily made vegan. There were 6 or 7 vegan items.

I had a bean burrito that was very good.

25 Feb, 2014

Food Roundup

/ posted in: Food

I’m Back! For some reason the powers that be at ICANN decided that I wasn’t a real person and shut down my domain. It took 5 days to fix so I have a backlog of posts that were ready to go.

Are you ready for the most First World whine you’ve ever heard? I am so sick of eating – especially eating out. I want to be able to just wander to my own kitchen and get some food. I don’t want eating to be an ordeal. I now know that I would have been a horrible hunter-gatherer. “Oh, the buffalo are all the way over there? Let’s just skip it tonight then. I’m good.”

By the end of the trip I was forcing myself to eat dinner. I knew I was going to be hungry if I didn’t but it involved getting on a shuttle bus for a ride to a strip hotel and then walking for 15-20 minutes to go to a restaurant, eating, walking back to the bus, and riding to the hotel. By the time I mustered up the energy to go and then got back I didn’t want to write about it. So here is a quick rundown of the rest of my Vegas eating.

Border Grill Mandalay Bay

I love Mexican food and it can be tough to do vegan with all the cheese. I ended up with the avocado tacos here. The avocados were rolled in seeds of some type (sesame?) so they were a little crunchy. It was ok, not out of this world but I’m not a huge avocado fan.

They did have a huge sorbet collection for dessert. There were 7 flavor made that day. Some I couldn’t even imagine – jalapeño? prickly pear? I ended up with mojito and passion fruit. These were good.

Buffet at Wynn

I ended up at buffets for vegetables. Expensive vegetables because strip buffets don’t come cheap. Because this is Wynn there were vegan options at every station clearly labeled. At the pasta station there were no meat sauces at all and there was even a non-dairy Alfredo. I was disappointed that the only vegan desserts were a passion fruit tapioca and a mango sorbet. I thought here there would be more options.

Bacchanal Buffet at Caesar’s Palace

This is widely touted as one of the best buffets around. It was awful. It was just horribly run. Most food weren’t labeled at all or worse, was labeled incorrectly. I had some vegan sushi (good) but when I went back there was a new tray of obviously fish sushi with the vegetable label still over it. People in line were working together to try to figure out what they were eating. There would be a station with four dishes and five labels or a station with no labels at all. At the dessert bar every other one of the ice creams were labeled. Even with the worker having to answer, “What kind is that?” for every guest she didn’t fix the labels.

16 Feb, 2014

barMASA at Aria

/ posted in: Food

I am completely not the ideal Vegas demographic. I don’t drink. I don’t gamble and I like to be in bed by nine. But, I do like food and Vegas does vegetarian/vegan food well. The key is research ahead of time.

I had dinner tonight at barMASA at Aria. It is a Japanese restaurant. I had a huge bowl of winter mushroom udon. Wonderful. Not terribly filling so I’m already wishing I had eaten more. There were vegetarian rice dishes and sushi also.

15 Feb, 2014

Travel Day

/ posted in: Foodtravel

I’m flying to Las Vegas today. It is my first time flying while trying to maintain a vegan diet.

Of course I’m carrying a lot of my own food. I have a bag of baby carrots and lots of Larabars. I have some veggie chips too.

I started out at the Akron airport. It is small with only a few food options. You can get a bowl of fruit from the Cinnabon though if you need to.

Then I got bumped from my flight! I got a $400 flight voucher and they drove me to Cleveland for my new flight.

At the Cleveland airport I found UFoodGrill. They offer a veggie burger, a tofu bowl, and a variety of veggie sides. I ordered the veggie burger and a side of brown rice.

Disgusting! Actually that’s the wrong word. There was absolutely no taste to it except for the ketchup on the burger. But, it filled me up and I was glad to have options. So, A for effort but no points for execution.

I didn’t get a chance to eat in Minneapolis because I was running to make my connection.

Now I’m at my hotel in Vegas. I have a grocery store delivering food in the morning. For tonight I’m ordering a calzone. The lady taking my order was distressed by my request to have it cheese less. “Oh, sweetie. No cheese? Are you sure?”

Hopefully it is good. Tomorrow I start my exploration of vegan food in Vegas. I know from other trips and some research that it is pretty amazing! I’ve been looking forward to this!

28 Nov, 2013


/ posted in: Food

Merry Thanksgiving everybody!

Thanksgiving is one of my absolutely least favorite holidays.  It is all about the food and I pretty much can’t eat the food.

Last year I rebelled.  I made my own stuffing (to eliminate the chicken fat and turkey bits and broth) and gravy.  I made enough stuffing to share last year but most people didn’t try it so this year I am making a personal pan stuffing and I’m guarding it like a hobbit with a ring.

Making my own stuffing and gravy



This is the Most High Holy Vegan Gravy Link.  I have shared this with other vegetarians and there has been rejoicing.  I make it with 1 cup of vegetable broth and one cup of almond milk instead of water.  It is enough to make you like Thanksgiving.

09 Oct, 2013

Food For Thought

/ posted in: Food

I’m back to smoothies in the morning instead of spaghetti like last week.


I’ve started soaking some cashews first before making the smoothies to make them really creamy. This one was cashews, almond milk, banana, and spinach.


For lunch I had soup made with mushroom broth and miso. There were carrots and green beans in it too. I added some kelp noodles. I really like these. They don’t need to be cooked and they take on the flavor of whatever broth they are in. I like to add them to a soup in the morning and let it sit until lunch. The noodles get soft that way. If you eat them right off they are a bit too crunchy for my liking.


Dinner was supposed to be portabello reubens but the sauerkraut I bought tasted horrible. I made the raw thousand island dressing from here.Raw Kale Salad with Thousand Island Dressing

I modified it a bit. It was too thick for my taste so I added some almond milk to thin it and added 5 drops of stevia to take away a little of the bitter aftertaste.

I layered the broiled mushroom with the dressing, black beans, some salsa, and olives. I also had some grapes and pistachios.