Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day: A Review & Giveaway!!!

In case you didn’t already know, Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes, authors of the almighty Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, have been doing a blog tour for the last 5 weeks to promote their book. This is the final week and I feel honored to be taking part in such a fun and tasty adventure. ***GIVEAWAY INFO AT END OF POST***

I have been following the talents of these two ladies for quite some time and am always impressed to the max with their recipe creativity skills. I was especially excited about Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day because like most folks, I love a good sammie – any time of day. They are portable, versatile, filling, and just plain fun to eat.

This book is gorgeous (GORGEOUS!!!)! Celine’s photography skills grace the pages and the recipes are clever twists on classics, plus new creations you won’t want to refuse. There is even a nifty chapter on how to make your sandwich building experience a breeze (we aren’t all born sandwich-making artists, myself included). Other chapters include breakfast sandwiches, topless sandwiches, cold sandwiches, classic sandwiches, bold new sandwiches, sweet sandwiches, and sandwich building blocks. Your bases are definitely covered.

When I first opened my copy, I tabbed so many recipes to make that I got overwhelmed. Decision making is not my strong suit. With the help of Tim, we narrowed the recipes down to a more manageable handful for review purposes. The first recipe we made was the Green Monster Bread (there is a bagel variation), which would be used later for The Incredible Green Sandwich.

These green hued bagels are packed with spinach and dotted with garlicky goodness. While the dough was a bit finicky to work with, these came out of the oven golden on top, chewy on the inside, and damn delicious.

And there was the sammie:

The Incredible Green Sandwich is a combination of garlicky avocado spread, greens, and sprouts (which we had to do without since Portland seems to have a sprout shortage right now) on Green Monster Bread (which can be made into bagels or rolls too). If you love avocados, this is the perfect choice for you! Plus, on a dreary gray day, green foods always brighten my mood.

Next up, we made the Almo-Cado Sandwich. This clever creation uses almond butter as a spread and seasoned shredded beets, micro greens, sprouts, and avocado as the filling. I had this sandwich for my lunch and it kept me full until dinner. It is a well balanced and pretty sandwich!

We have plans to make quite a few more sandwiches from this book over the next week or two. On the list: Pesto Pitzas, Maple-Nut Pie Wafflewich, Hot Brown Sandwiches, Razz-elnut Spinach Sandwiches, One World Reuben, Meat(less)ball Subs, and Peanut Butter Banana Bacon Sandwiches. See what I mean? You will want to make everything!!!

For now, I am going to share the Green Monster Bread recipe with you, courtesy of Celine, Tami, and their fine publisher, Fair Winds Press. Thanks!

Green Monster Bread

1 packed cup (40 g) baby arugula or spinach
1 tablespoon (8 g) minced garlic
1 1/4 cups (295 ml) water, lukewarm
2 tablespoons (30 ml) light olive oil
3 1/2 cups (438 g) all-purpose flour*, plus more
if needed
2 tablespoons (18 g) vital wheat gluten
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 tablespoons (25 g) sugar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon canola oil
Nonstick cooking spray

Place the arugula, garlic, water, and oil in a blender; blend
until smooth. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, gluten,
yeast, sugar, and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix for about
6 minutes, until a dough forms. Add more flour, 1 tablespoon
(8 g) at a time while mixing, if needed.

Alternatively, if you don’t have a stand mixer, transfer
the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for 8 to 10
minutes, adding 1 tablespoon (8 g) flour at a time if needed,
until the dough is smooth and pliable.

Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. Turn to
coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise for 60 to 90
minutes, until doubled.

Lightly coat an 8 x 4-inch (20 x 10-cm) loaf pan with
spray. Gently punch down the dough and press it down into
the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let rise until
the dough reaches 1 inch (2.5 cm) over the top of the pan,
between 30 and 60 minutes

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5).
Carefully remove the plastic wrap and bake for 30 minutes,
or until golden brown and the bottom of the bread sounds
hollow when tapped. Remove from the pan, transfer to a wire
rack, and let cool before slicing.

Yield: 1 loaf

*Feel free to replace up to half of the flour with white whole wheat flour, but keep in mind that the green color might become a bit more subdued if you do.

****And now… a giveaway!!! Fair Winds Press has generously offered to give one reader their very own copy of Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!!!! Hooray!!! To enter, leave a comment telling me about your most favorite sandwich. This giveaway is open to folks in the US and Canada. You have until midnight (Pacific Standard Time) Friday, December 7th! Good Luck!!!****

Let Them Eat Vegan, A Review

A few weeks ago the most exciting package arrived in my mailbox: a copy of Let Them Eat Vegan by Dreena Burton. I have long been a fan of Dreena’s recipes. They are wholesome, healthy, creative, and downright delicious. I am particularly keen on her hummus, gravy, and sauce recipes because there is rarely an absence of tahini. You do know that I love tahini (snicker, snicker, snicker…), right?!

Let Them Eat Vegan is much heftier than Dreena’s previous books, and I am not complaining. It is literally packed with plant-based recipes (including an entire chapter dedicated to sauces and dips!). There are gorgeous photographs, helpful tips/guidance, and plenty of allergy-friendly recipes. What I love most about this book is that processed foods, Earth Balance, and Tofutti products are non-existent. This is a whole foods, pure ingredients, only-the-good-stuff kind of cookbook. In other words, the cookbook of my dreams.

But, don’t fret! There is a dessert chapter and it has frosting recipes! Your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied. I haven’t made any of the desserts yet because Tim is out of town and it’s dangerous territory when I am left alone with treats. But, I did make a super satisfying, energy-packed granola that makes breakfast exciting:

Cocoa Goji Granola: very lightly sweetened, crunchy, and a nice change of pace from my usual granola

I also made a raw kale salad that I devoured by myself in less than two days.

Kale Slaw with Curried Almond Dressing: Kale, apples, carrots, bell pepper, cranberries, and almonds are tossed with a creamy curry dressing to make a fresh, crunchy, tangy, sweet meal

Yesterday, I made the Goji Strawberry Smoothie for breakfast and it kept me full for a LONG time!

Finally, last night I made the Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt:

I made these after the sunshine went down so the picture doesn’t do them justice. These sweet potato wedges were super fast and simple to make. I admittedly ate two whole potatoes worth on my own. A bonus for me: there are massive wild rosemary bushes growing all over Portland, so I was able to walk down the street and clip fresh rosemary for free! Gotta love Portland :)

Made but not photographed: Dj’s Hummus Salad Dressing, Gingered Broccolini, and Creamy Carrot Miso Dip. On my recipe agenda: Triple-Threat Chocolate Coconut Macaroons (!!!), Rich Coconut Caramel Sauce, Nutty Veggie Burgers, Oven-Sweetened Beets with Sage, French Lentil Soup with Smoked Paprika, and Cashew Chive Spread. To be honest, I have marked at least 2/3 of the recipes in this book that I want to make in the next few weeks. It’s crazy difficult to make a decision on what gets priority.

I have been reading this cookbook like a novel over the last several days and I cannot recommend it enough. A big, gracious thank you to Dreena and Da Capo Press for sending me a review copy. Thanks!!!

Next week I will have a new vegan product review and giveaway, so keep checking back!

Hope the sun is shining wherever you are-it was snowing in Portland a few days ago but today it is sunny!

Year-End Giveaway!!!!

Hey everybody, what’s up?! This year is quickly coming to a close and I’m still back a few months trying to reach the present… My holiday cookie baking intentions are simmering somewhere in outer space (well, except for a few batches I managed to whip up last weekend). I mentioned in a previous post that I would be reviewing My Sweet Vegan by the lovely Hannah Kaminsky and this post is dedicated to that decadently yummy book.

Lately I have been trying to reduce my sugar intake so this review was a test of my will power against sweets. Don’t misunderstand, I do love treats, but my body responds much differently than my taste buds. Anyways, Hannah’s book is impressive from the start. An extensive ingredient guide will familiarize you with items you may not know much about. There is a color photograph accompanying each recipe (taken by Hannah herself!) so you know how the final treat should look. The recipes range from muffins, scones, cakes, pies, tarts, crumbles, and even parfaits!!! There is definitely a recipe for everybody (and a food allergy index at the back of the book to help you choose appropriately) and every season. I have made a handful of wonderful recipes from My Sweet Vegan: Whoopie Pies, Rootbeer Float Cupcakes, Power Hungry Granola, and Orange Hazelnut Biscotti. Several recipes are marked for future baking binges: Strawberry Spirals, Sweet & Simple French Toast, and Dried Fruit Focaccia. While the ingredients for the recipes can be expensive to purchase and are not always in your pantry, it is fun to whip up some seriously indulgent desserts once in awhile. I keep my copy on hand for special occasions and have found that you can make them a bit healthier by substituting different flours, milks, sweeteners, etc. But, it is a dessert book, so don’t expect low fat recipes!!! Treat yourself, friends, family, and co-workers!!!! Yes indeed.

Orange Hazelnut Biscotti – pretty addictive and perfectly enhanced with orange zest and juice. Have some with a cup of tea, why don’t you?

And here comes the best part – I am giving away one copy of My Sweet Vegan to a lucky reader (thanks to Alisa from Go Dairy Free for providing the copy)!!!!! Woohoo! I meant to have the giveaway earlier so I could mail the book out before the holidays, but we bake all year, so I guess it doesn’t matter much, right? Good! To enter the drawing, just leave a comment telling me your favorite baked treat (recipe links would be awesome!!!). I will happily ship overseas so don’t let that stop you from trying to win!!! I will choose a winner on Wednesday, December 30th. Hurry up already and leave a comment!!!! Get excited to bake up some seriously sweet treats!!!! Good luck!

I hope everybody enjoys the remainder of 2009. I am partial to even numbers, so I am mighty happy about the approach of 2010. Best wishes to each of you in 2010.

A Book Review

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Alisa Marie Fleming from the Go Dairy Free website and asked to review a few books, My Sweet Vegan by Hannah Kaminsky and Go Dairy Free by Alisa herself. What a wonderfully generous opportunity, right?! When the books arrived in my mailbox, I immediately cozied up on the futon with a blanket and started reading. I had the pleasure of meeting Hannah when she was in Portland in 2008 for a book signing event at Herbivore. She was so sweet and made treats for everybody to enjoy, including some yummy whoopie pies! Since I already own a copy of My Sweet Vegan, I will be having a giveaway soon (everybody can enter too!!!). But first I want to review Go Dairy Free.

Go Dairy Free is an incredible resource for vegans, vegetarians, and any individuals wanting (or needing) to reduce/eliminate dairy from their diet. The book begins with an introduction about dairy (what it is, why we don’t need it, allergies, etc) and ends with an abundance of wonderful recipes! In between are chapters about eating dairy-free away from home, grocery shopping, and dairy alternatives. There are plenty of tips, links, and recommendations for both online and offline reading resources too. This book is so well organized!!! I marked about a zillion recipes to make! Time is seriously disappearing in my life but I still found enough to make a few recipes (well actually, Tim made the second one, but still…):

Light Apricot Scones – Oh my goodness, these are delicious!! I made them twice, once for Tim and I to enjoy and once for a vegan bake sale. They are so simple, quick, and addictive.

Sesame Soba Noodles – Insanely quick, healthy, and so very tasty. If you are pressed for time this is the perfect recipe for lunch or dinner. It’s also a great meal for adaptability, you can add veggies, tofu, tempeh, other seeds… Whatever your lil’ non-dairy heart desires!!!

I have marked plenty more recipes to try from Go Dairy Free: Oatmeal Blender Waffles, Peanut Buttery African Stew, Sunflower Seed Cheese, Cashew Gravy, and Portobello-Ricotta Ravioli just to name a few!!! Yummy sounding stuff, right?

I have been enjoying Go Dairy Free so much that it keeps moving from my cookbook shelf to my bedroom to my living room and back to the cookbook shelf… Repeat, repeat, repeat. If you don’t own a copy of Go Dairy Free, you should. It is so packed full of tips, and I love tips!!!

I hope to have a review of My Sweet Vegan posted before the end of the week. Keep your eyes peeled because I will be giving away a copy (thanks Alisa!!) to one lucky reader. It would make a super gift for the holidays (or for yourself of course!).

Keep cozy in the cold if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, or cool in the heat if you live in the Southern Hemisphere. Go have some tea and a scone.