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!!!****

Get Ready for a Giveaway!

Vegan MoFo 2012 is winding down to its final week and it seems like a good time for one last celebratory giveaway. Don’t you think? I do.

This giveaway is pretty exciting because it showcases two of my favorite places in Portland and a few of my most beloved treats. Here’s the deal: I am giving away a little prize pack filled with Herbivore stickers and buttons, Food Fight stickers and buttons, and some yummy sweet surprises. Wouldn’t that be fun to receive in the mail? To enter, all you have to do is tell me what celebrity is at the top of your crush list. Wanna know mine? Right now it’s a tie between Ed O’Neil, Paul Rudd, and Ted Danson. They all make me melt. Melllllllllltttttttt… I will pick a winner at random on Wednesday, October 31st. This contest is open to everybody, everywhere! If I happen to choose an international winner, I might have to switch up the sweet treats portion to save on shipping costs. But, it will still be awesome. I promise!

Giveaway Time!!!

Today I thought it might be fun to have a little giveaway to celebrate the Vegan Month of Food. Sound good? Good! Up for grabs is a kickin’ t-shirt from everybody’s favorite vegan grocery store, Food Fight!

This is a 100% cotton American Apparel t-shirt. It is a unisex XS. To enter, all you have to do is comment here telling me your most favorite food in the whole wide world. But, it has to be vegan! Don’t gross me out with inappropriate comments! I will select a winner at random on Monday, October 15th. Good luck!

This giveaway is only open to US residents.

The Vegan Burger That Wasn’t + A Giveaway!

Several weeks ago I was contacted by a representative from Quorn, a company known for their line of meat-free vegetarian products, and was asked if I would be interested in taste-testing their new vegan burger. How could I say no?! It’s always exciting when a new vegan product hits the market. Plus, with summer just around the corner, it is the ideal time to start thinking about (vegan) barbecues!

I should start by mentioning that I rarely purchase packaged vegan burgers because it’s much more fun (and less expensive) to make them at home from scratch. When I do opt for the convenience route, my standards are pretty high: clean, wholesome ingredients; thick patty; full of flavor; good texture; and organic if possible. More than once, I have found myself choosing Amy’s California Veggie Burgers because they are pretty tasty and meet the above requirements. I had high hopes for Quorn’s first vegan product!

Unfortunately, I was disappointed with these burgers. They come packaged (4) in a box, as most burgers do, but the patties themselves aren’t wrapped in anything. My patties had a mild case of freezer burn upon their arrival. This certainly could be blamed on transport, but it seems likely that even in a grocer’s freezer, the patties could fall victim to freezer burn. I do appreciate the lack of plastic wrapping for environmental reasons, but some frozen foods need the extra packaging to protect the product.

Secondly, these patties are THIN! I have a hearty appetite and expect a bit more oomph from a burger. My homemade burgers are monsters in comparison!

Thirdly, when paired with a homemade bun, toppings, and condiments, the flavor of the burger (and the burger itself) is completely lost. I don’t put much on my burger, usually greens, avocado, mustard, and ketchup. I was really hoping to taste the burger in my first bite! I had to pluck a piece off the patty so I could get a good taste. In all honestly, it reminded me of a hotdog in flavor. I wasn’t impressed. But, the texture is great: chewy and firm.

Lastly, the ingredient list isn’t necessarily healthy. The only vegetable listed is onion. Roughly a third of the patty is made from mycoprotein, which is made from a member of the fungi family. It is high in protein and dietary fiber, which is certainly a bonus. But, the rest of the ingredients are flavorings, extracts, oils (including palm), starches, and stabilizers. I need my veggies-even in convenience foods!!

Maybe I am terribly fussy when it comes to vegan burgers? I don’t know. I’m sure that plenty of folks will enjoy these vegan burgers. In fact, I’ve read several other reviews that are more positive than mine. I think I will stick to homemade burgers though.

But, let’s not end this review post on a negative note! The kind folks at Quorn included two free product coupons with my package and I would love to give them away to two lucky readers!!! If you are interested in trying Quorn’s vegan burgers for yourself, leave me a comment telling me about your favorite veggie burger. That’s it! I will choose the winners on Monday, April 2nd. Good luck!!!

P.S. Thank you, Quorn, for the opportunity to try your new product :)

A Hearty Giveaway!

Who’s up for another giveaway? This time, I am hosting a giveaway for your very own copy of Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman (courtesy of Fair Winds Press). I had the pleasure of testing recipes for this massive, colorful (seriously, there are so many beautiful photographs to lure you in), recipe-packed cookbook and can tell you first hand that it is a true treasure. If you want filling meals that will keep your tummy happy and please the fussiest anti-vegans on the planet, you should enter this giveaway!

Stuff I made:

Avocado Rolls

Pesto Pea-Damame Soup

Tempeh, Pepper, & Spinach Pesto Sandwich

Funnel Cakes

Roasted Broccoli & Garlic Pizza

I also made Altella Spread, Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, Salty Sweet Oats, Ham-ish Saucisses, Mozzarella (perfect for pizza), and Roasted Broccotato Soup with Bacon Flavored Chickpeas. This cookbook has you covered with beverages, breakfasts, soups, breads, main entrees, desserts (like Cake Batter Ice Cream!), and even condiments. Celine’s gorgeous photography graces the pages and the first chapter offer tips and advice on cooking, baking, and stocking your kitchen. There are soy-free and gluten-free recipes, plus low fat recipes. See? They have thought of everything, just for you!

For a chance to win a copy of Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites, leave a comment here telling me what your favorite hearty meal is, whether it’s from a cookbook, a restaurant, or one of your own creations. It doesn’t matter, I just want to know your favorite hearty meal! I will randomly select a winner on Wednesday, January 18th. This giveaway is open to US residents only (sorry!).

Good luck everybody!