Archive | October 2011

Happy Halloween + Winner of Quick-Fix Vegan!

Today is a big day. It’s the last day of Vegan MoFo. It’s time to announce the winner of Quick-Fix Vegan in my latest giveaway. And it’s Halloween~and you know what that means: another edible Jack O’Lantern!

This time, the Jack O’ Lantern was made by topping a bowl of black bean chili with some mashed sweet potatoes. Easy to do and so much fun to eat. If you’ve never had sweet potatoes with a spicy-hot chili, you won’t believe how good it is. I put extra chipotles in this chili so it is super-spicy. And the creamy sweet potatoes are the perfect way to tame that heat.

When I was making the chili, I reserved about a half cup of the cooked black beans so I’d have them to make Jack’s face. After placing the beans for the facial features, I had some beans left, so I arranged them on top of the chili, around the edge of the sweet potatoes to help the Jack O’Lantern pop a bit. Jack’s little green stem is a piece of Italian pole bean.  Almost too cute to eat, huh?

Okay, so here’s the announcement you’ve all been waiting for. The winner of a copy of my new cookbook Quick-Fix Vegan — chosen at random via — is comment # 41 by Panda With Cookie!! Congrats, Panda with Cookie! Please e-mail me with your mailing address and I’ll get Quick-Fix Vegan in the mail to you.

As another Vegan MoFo comes to a close, I’m happy to know that some new subscribers found their way to my blog. From what I hear, some people read the MoFo posts in alphabetical order, so maybe next year I’ll change my blog name from “Vegan Planet” to “AA Aardvark.” What do you think?

Have a safe Halloween everyone, and please, if you have any outdoor kitties, please bring them inside. 

Here’s a closing shot of my favorite baby cardinal that lives in our butterfly bush.  Her name is Wallflower:

Sunday is for Slow Cookers

I’m taking a break from my frenzy of Jack O’Lantern food today.  Well, not really, because I’m actually making another Jack O’Lantern-ized dish for tonight’s dinner, but it won’t be ready to show you until tomorrow.
Since today is Slow Cooker Sunday, today’s post includes three more tester photos from my upcoming slow cooker book. Jill Pascal has been testing recipes and took these photos that look so good, I wish I had them all cooking in my slow cookers right now.  Above is the tutti-fruiti cobbler (served with Jill’s homemade ice cream). Next is some yummy-looking colcannon (what’s not to love about mashed potatoes and kale?):

And finally, a loaf of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread — perfect for this time of year!

Is it slow cooker Sunday at your house?

Halloween Pumpkin Cheesecake

It’s Sweet Tooth Saturday and just two days ’til Halloween, so how could I not make a Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin cheesecake??  This is my basic pumpkin cheesecake recipe, with the addition of the happy Jack face that I made by combining melted chocolate with some chocolate cookie crumbs that I spread out and chilled before cutting into shapes.

Here’s another pic of Jack from another angle — I used a chocolate cookie crumb crust to give more of an “orange and black” appearance to the cheesecake.

I’ll keep this post short today because it’s snowing (in October!!) and the power keeps flickering on and off.  It’s a heavy wet snow and the leaves are still on the trees, so limbs are snapping everywhere.  I don’t know how long we’ll have power today, but I couldn’t let Sweet Tooth Saturday go by without sharing Mr. Jack o’Cheesecake!

And I couldn’t let Caturday slip by without a photo of Gary “Long-legs”!  Gary is a very tall boy, and this photo gives you an idea of just how long his legs are.

“Party Vegan” Halloween

Since today is “Flashback Friday” and my theme this week is Halloween, it seems fitting that today’s post is favorites from Halloweens past, specifically the Halloween menu from my book, Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food for Every Occasion.
Besides, this menu is so much fun, it deserves repeating.  As you can see, each menu item is orange and black, beginning with the Black Olive Tapenade on Carrot Sticks (and/or Orange Bell Pepper Strips).  Best of all, you don’t need a party to enjoy these recipes since each dish can be enjoyed individually anytime, from this Black Bean and Butternut Chili (recipe below):
… to these adorable pumpkin muffins (photo of muffins and chili by Tamasin Noyes).  
 —    Menu —
Halloween Boo-ffet
Black Olive Tapenade with Carrot Sticks and Orange Bell Pepper Strips
Black Bean and Butternut Chili
Savory Pumpkin Muffins with Black Sesame Seeds
Black Rice Salad (with grated carrot, diced orange bell pepper, etc.)
Orange-Carrot Cake with Dark Chocolate Icing
If you don’t own Party Vegan, you may be interested to know that it’s not only about parties!  It’s about celebrating vegan food every day, including holidays, family dinners, and casual get-togethers.  To me, every day we eat vegan food is a reason to celebrate, and the recipes in Party Vegan reflect that — as a bonus, you’ll get a complete menu and recipes for holidays and get-togethers throughout the year.  Now, here’s the recipe for that “spooktacular” chili:
Black Bean and Butternut Chili
This flavorful chili makes a great centerpiece when served in a large pumpkin shell.  You can also serve it in a crock pot on the “keep warm” setting. (This recipe is from Party Vegan by Robin Robertson © 2010, John Wiley and Sons.)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 1/2 cups cooked or 3 (15.5-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 chipotle chile in adobo, minced
1 cup apple juice
3 tablespoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cut the squash into 1/4-inch dice and set aside. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, squash, carrot, and bell pepper, if using.  Cover and cook, until softened, about 10 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, black beans, and chipotle. Stir in the apple juice, chili powder, allspice, sugar, and salt and black pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, covered, until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Uncover and simmer about 10 minutes longer. Serve hot.

Halloween Pizza

In my continuing obsession with Halloween themed food, today’s post features pizza!  The top photo shows a Jack o’ Lantern pizza.  It may not be the prettiest Jack o’ Lantern, but he sure was tasty.  I blended the pizza sauce and spices with some vegan cream cheese to lighten the color from red to orange. I then “brushed” some red pizza sauce on each side of the face (hard to see in the photo) to add some depth.  The facial features are made out of kalamata olives and the pumpkin stem is a piece of artichoke heart.  I put this together quickly with on-hand ingredients, but if I were to to it for guests, I might use slices of eggplant (peel side up) for some or all of the features to be larger and more dramatic.

This next pizza is my attempt at making a spider and his web.  Again, it’s not the most artistic pizza in the world, but you get the idea. (Kalamata spiders are my favorite!)

And if yesterday’s baked pumpkin oatmeal wasn’t enough pumpkin for you, try this Moroccan-Spiced Pumpkin Hummus from Quick-Fix Vegan — the recipe is posted on

Stay tuned for more Halloween treats — no tricks — during the rest of this week.  And don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Quick-Fix Vegan – (contest closes Sunday night).

Halloween Baked Oatmeal

In the days leading up to Halloween, I’ll be posting some fun ways to celebrate the holiday with food, beginning with breakfast.  Who wouldn’t get into the Halloween spirit when they see this cute little Jack o’ Lantern greeting them at the breakfast table?

There are lots of ways to make baked pumpkin oatmeal, but I made these little guys using a short-cut method.  To already cooked oatmeal, I swirled in just enough canned solid-pack pumpkin to turn the oatmeal a lovely orange color.  I then added some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and ginger to make it taste like a cross between pumpkin pie and oatmeal cookies!

I then scraped the oatmeal into various baking pans and dishes, notable mini-springform pans and single-serve souffle dishes.  I then baked them until they got nice and firm and puffed up a bit.  To make the Jack o’ Lantern faces, I just cut up some dried blueberries because they were nice and dark.  I used pieces of pitted date for the pumpkin stem.

Quick-Fix Vegan Giveaway — and Last Week’s Winner!

The winner of this week’s “Make My Monday” cookbook giveaway, chosen randomly is #12, VeggieAmanda, whose favorite pantry ingredient is nutritional yeast.  Congratulations!!!  Send me an e-mail with your mailing address and I’ll get a copy of Vegan Unplugged right out to you.

For my final cookbook giveaway during VeganMoFo, I am giving away a copy of my brand new cookbook: Quick-Fix Vegan: Healthy, Homestyle Meals in 30 Minutes or Less.  If you’ve been following my blog, you’ve seen loads of amazing tester photos from this book, as well as a few sample recipes.  I’ve also posted a list of many of the recipe titles here.

If you already enjoy my other 30-minute cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegetarian, then you’ll love this all new “companion volume” Quick-Fix Vegan. (Yes, these are TWO DIFFERENT cookbooks!) 

Okay, so how do you win a copy?  Simple: just leave a comment at the end of this post that answers this question: “Why would you like to win a copy of Quick-Fix Vegan?”

That’s it! One lucky winner will be selected at random. And if you want to increase your chances, you can do any or all of the following, and leave a comment for each that you do:
1. Follow me on Twitter: @GlobalVegan
2. Link to this giveaway on Twitter

3. Link to this giveaway on Facebook
4. Link to this giveaway on your blog 
5. Subscribe to this blog
6. “Like” Quick-Fix Vegan on Amazon
The contest closes Sunday night 10/30 at midnight.  The winner will be announced next Monday 10/31. So, tell me, why do you want to win a copy of Quick-Fix Vegan?