Lip Balm and Chocolate Mousse

My new favorite lip stuff
I do not have an addictive personality, however, I do tend to go a bit overboard with somethings. One of my obsessions is lip balm, or more specifically, frosty colored lip balm. For a long time, I have loved Burt’s Bees which is not vegan for obvious and not obvious reasons. The obvious is the bee’s wax, the not so obvious is the coloring carmine. Carmine is made from crushed red beetles, yuck.
Anyway, I have found my new favorite. Hibiskiss by Crazy Rumors, this was given to me by my fellow lip balm addict and dear friend, Diana. It smells amazing, and tastes good too! They also have a line of tea, coffee, soda, and candy inspired ones, all organic, cruelty-free and vegan. I like the Hibiskiss line because it is frosty!

My new favorite decadent dessert
Chocolate Mousse
Soooooo easy and incredibly delicious. Take 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips and melt them in the micro for 2 minutes or over a double broiler. Put in a blender with 8 ounces silken lite tofu and a 1/4 cup of organic powdered sugar. Blend on high until light and fluffy. Refrigerate for an hour or so and serve with fresh raspberries.

Homemade Seitan

Seitan is a meat substitute some say was invented by Buddhist monks. Seitan is made from wheat instead of soy which is better for some. It has a really nice texture which is great for dishes that require something a bit more “meaty” such as satay, or stroganoff. Many vegetarians feel that one is somehow compromising their values by eating something that tastes or has the texture of meat. Personally, I grew up loving meat in all of it’s forms. I chose to be a vegan for ethical and health reasons. I do not feel there is anything wrong with eating something that is similar to meat because it is not the flesh of a dead animal but a plant. Don’t be intimidated by this process. I was for the longest time but now that I make my own seitan, I just can’t seem to stop! There are many variations but this is a good basic recipe that will get you started.

2 cups Vital Gluten Flour (usually refrigerated)
1 cup Panko
4 cloves garlic crushed
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional but adds a nice flavor and color)
2 Tbs basil
2 teaspoons thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix all these ingredients in a bowl
Then mix together the below liquids
2 cups cold vegetable broth
1/4 cup tamari
2 Tbs. olive oil

Stir the liquid into the bowl of dry ingredients then knead with your hands for about 5 minutes. It should be elastic and stick together well although some of the panko might drop out which is no big deal.

Boil 6 cups of veggie broth and 1/4 cup tamari
Tear strips of seitan about 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. Throw it into the boiling broth and continue until all the seitan is in the pot. Bring the broth back up to a boil for a minute and then set in to simmer(bubbling very lightly). Cover loosely with a lid but let a little steam escape. Give it a stir if it looks like the pieces are sticking together. Cook for about 45 minutes. When it is done it should taste chewy and spongy but not like raw dough in the middle.

From here you can do lots of things with it. a simple method is to cut the seitan into long strips, coat with flour and then pan fry. This is a good method for a picata for example. I made the seitan picata in Veganomicon with my last batch. You can also fry in olive oil and then coat with tamari for a thai noodle dish. Let me know how it comes out! For photos and more recipes visit VO2!

Website of the Week, Almond Milk, and iPhones!

Almond Milk:
Tried a new product the other day on a whim, Blue Diamond Almond milk in the refridge section (next to the Silk). I bought the vanilla and brought it home for my kids to try. Now, I should say that my kids are not normal, I think in a good way, and already drink soy milk and eat all kinds of things that many kids won’t. That said, the almond milk is delicious. Rich and creamy, Deven, my six year old, says it tastes like egg nog. It is sweet which they liked and I did too but there is an unsweetened one (Bonnie I know you don’t like the sweet ones). Great for those of you who are looking for alternatives to soy. It was great in coffee and tea too. On the downside, it is not organic. I went on their website and really didn’t get much info about pesticide use, but did find that the almonds are grown in California and are not genetically modified.
In search of more info on the pesticide issue I came across a great website:

What’s On My Food?
What’s on my food lists all the pesticide residues found on common foods. Really interesting and handy so check it out. Even better, they have an app for Iphones, which leads me to my new guilty pleasure, my new iphone.

Mimi has an iphone????
Anyone who knows me well is shocked to find this out. I am a luddite, a simple living advocate, and incredibly challenged by all things technical. We have no television in our house, one computer for my husband’s office, and definately no video games. So why the iphone? Well, why I got it is a long story but I am finding all kinds of great uses. Did you know you can get Vegan with a Vengeance, by Isa Moskowitz (my hero), as an app on your phone???? This was my very first vegan cookbook. I got it before I even knew I was going vegan. It is still one of my all time favorites and I love everything she and Terry Hope Romero have done since: VeganomiconVegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar. Ah, but I digress, Let’s just say that I am having fun with my new toy and will let you know what other uses I find for it!

Peace, Mimi

Mimi’s White Lasagna (and cashew cream)

Okay. So, I have been seeing recipes for this stuff called Cashew Cream in various vegan cookbooks but most recently and most prevently in the Conscious Cook by Tal Ronnen. Finally, I made some.
Take 2 cups of raw cashews and soak them overnight in the fridge in water (water covering them completely).
Then drain and rinse.
Pour them into a blender and fill an inch over the top with cold water.
Process until really smooth. About 2 minutes.
I have a pretty good blender which I think is important. I really want a Vitamix…. Is that wanting without needing?? Hmm but I digress
First I made a recipe from the cook book called Artichoke ravioli with a saffron cream sauce. It was amazing. then I made up my own recipe which follows:
White lasagna
1 can artichoke hearts drained
one box no boil lasagna noodles
1 block extra firm tofu
2 tablespoons lemon juice
handful fresh basil (1 teaspoon dried)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
fresh chopped veggies(I used broccoli but you could use spinach, chard, you can play here)
the above recipe of cashew cream
roasted asparagus (optional) they looked nice on top but are not critical
1 cup grated vegan cheese (again optional)
Mash the tofu, lemon juice, fresh chopped basil, 1/4 cup of the nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste until it resembles the texture of riccota.
In blender, blend artichoke hearts, cashew cream, other 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste for the sauce.
Sautee the broccoli, tomatoes, swiss chard with garlic and olive oil until al dente.
Put a layer of sauce on the bottom of the pan and lay 3 peices of lasagna noodles on top. then put a layer of ‘ricotta”, layer of veggies, 1/3 cup cheese if using, and another layer of sauce. Repeat this 1 more time and lay a last layer of noodles on top. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the sauce. I grated some garlic and herb almond cheese from Lizanetti. THis stuff is actually pretty good although I wouldn’t make a pizza out of it.
Bake covered, for about 40 minutes in a 375 oven. Let sit for 5-10 and then enjoy. Definately play with this recipe and let me know how it comes out!

Mimi’s Vegan American Chop Suey

Vegan American Chop Suey

There is something about junky comfort food that I still crave every once in a while. I so remember eating American Chop Suey as a kid in the school cafeteria. It was made with all the stuff the USDA likes to dump on schools, nursing homes and hospitals’ ground beef, american cheese and elbow macaroni. Don’t even get me started on all the horrible “food” the US goverment gives to kids and old and sick people! Anyway, I made a vegan version the other night. This is great for you students to. Easy to make and quick and satisfying.

1 pound elbow macaroni
1 medium onion
1 medium green pepper
1 28 oz can organic diced tomatoes
1/2 small can tomato paste
1 package Fantastic Foods Taco mix
3/4 cup shredded vegan cheese

Cook macaroni according to package.
Sautee chopped diced onion and green pepper until soft. Add to pan taco mix and water (follow directions on box) and cook until liquid is absorbed. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, pasta and cheese. That’s it!
I think you could also then bake it with the cheese on top if you like it drier.

xo mimi

Kim Freeman’s Spinach and Zucchini Soup

This is a good soup for all of the spring spinach:

Spinach and Zucchini Soup

3 Tbs. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed/chopped
2 med. onions, chopped (as an onion-phobe, I tend to half the amount, sometimes quarter it–how much you like onions is up to you)
2 1/2 med potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 1/2 cups zucchini, loosely chopped
4 cups vegetable broth/stock
4 cups fresh spinach
1 cup cilantro (I’ve used parsley too and it’s also good here)
one lemon (I love lemon so I sometimes use two)

1. Heat oil on medium-high heat, add garlic and onions in pinch of salt. Saute until onions become translucent.
2. Add stock, potatoes, and zucchini. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
3. Stir in spinach and let wilt, about 10 seconds.
4. Stir in cilantro.
5. Turn off heat and puree. And hand blender works well here. Otherwise puree in a blender in small batches, letting it cool a bit first. If you pureed in a blender, return all of the soup to pot.
6. Add juice of one (or two) lemons.

Serve–it’s lovely to drizzle a little olive oil on the top, though not necessary. And this soup is good hot or cold (on hot days).

I love it with some crusty bread and a baked sweet potato.

Thanks Kim!

Joanne Chang’s Vegan Chocolate Ganache

2 more V02 Exclusive Recipes!!!!!!

Joanne Chang is the owner of Flour Bakery and Myer’s and Chang. Flour Bakery is an amazing bakery and sandwich shop located on Washington Street in Boston’s South End, and on Farnsworth Street in Boston’s Fort Point district. I myself frequently have lunch there! They feature Vegan soups and dinner specials as well! Myers & Chang is “a funky indie diner setting offering Chef/Owner Joanne Chang and Executive Chef Matthew Barros’s very personal interpretation of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai, and Vietnamese specialties.” Imagine Asian/Fusion Tapas: fantastic small plates of extraordinary asian cooking. There are plenty of Vegetarian and Vegan options that you will adore!

Check out Joanne’s pending cookbook, due in 2010: Click for information

Joanne Chang’s Chocolate Ganache (for frosting chocolate cakes or just eating from the bowl!):
Four 3 oz. bars of dark organic chocolate
6 oz. organic soy milk


Heat milk almost to a boil.
Chop chocolate BARS and place in a bowl.
Pour milk over chocolate in bowl and stir until chocolate is melted.
Adjust to desired taste and thickness accordingly….and enjoy!