OneChubbyVegan's Veganized Avgolemono Soup
1 quart vegetable both
1/4 C long-grain white rice
3 TB nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
2 tsp tamari (optional)
1 C soymilk, or other unsweetened vegan "milk" of choice
2 TB cornstarch
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/3 C finely chopped chicken-style seitan (homemade or storebought)
2 TB vegan margarine or extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 to 1/3 C fresh lemon juice (use 1/4, then test for tartness, and add more if necessary)
zest from 1 small lemon, or 1/2 large lemon
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 to 1 tsp of salt, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp of pepper)
Fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Add vegetable broth, rice, nutritional yeast, and tamari (if using) to medium stockpot. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, until rice is cooked.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the soymilk, cornstarch, and tumeric with a fork or whisk and set aside.
When 25 minutes is up, re-stir the soymilk mixture, and add to soup. Stir well, until thickened. Add seitan, margarine, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix well, and test for tartness. If more tart flavor is desired, add extra lemon juice.
Add parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Stir well. Serve with some freshly snipped dill, if desired. This recipe will double well.
1 pound whole wheat penne
Salt for water
3 to 4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 large cloves of garlic, diced
1 (2 oz) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, & oregano
2 (15-oz) cans tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried marjoram
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 C vodka (any old kind will do, you don't need to break out the good stuff for this!)
1 tsp crushed red pepper (you can add more, but it will start getting very spicy! Oh, you could also use less, too.)
1/2 C pine nuts, processed in the food processor until very crumbly and paste-like
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
1 C plain soy creamer (I use plain Silk soy creamer)
1 TB cornstarch
2 TB vegan cream cheese substitute (I use Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese), optional (but recommended!)
1/2 to 2/3 C chopped fresh parsley (flat-leaf, not curly!)
Start the water for your pasta in a large pot of salted water.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, and saute the onions and garlic over medium heat until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, basil, marjoram, and oregano. Bring to a boil, stir well, and then lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, mix pulverized pine nuts and nutritional yeast together in a small bowl, until well-incorporated.
In a separate small bowl, mix creamer, cornstarch, and cream cheese substitute, breaking up the cream cheese with a fork until small pieces remain. Set aside.
When 20 minutes have passed, add vodka and red pepper flakes to tomato mixture. (At this point you should also be adding your pasta to the boiling water so that your pasta and sauce will be done at the same time.) Simmer sauce another 5 to 8 minutes on medium low.
Turn heat to low. Add pine nut mixture and creamer mixture. Mix well, and simmer another 2 to 5 minutes, until thickened.
Add parsley, and stir. Taste for seasonings, and adjust salt and pepper if needed. Serve over penne.
I hope everyone likes this stuff as much as I do. This breakfast is *really* simple, but it will look like you worked very hard on it.
It's something I grew up with, and therefore I have an attachment to it. If you don't think flour + "milk" = cream sauce, then you can feel free to yell at my great-grandmother for that, but she's dead and can't hear you.
Another thing... I like my scrambled tofu to be very simple. If you feel like you want to add more stuff to it, go for it, but this recipe is my go-to and by far the easiest tofu scramble of all.
Serves 2 to 4
4 slices of bread, toasted "buttered" with margarine (if desired. Buttering the bread is totally optional. Fatty and yummy, but optional.)
2 C Unsweetened Soymilk (or unsweetened "milk" of choice, but I prefer soymilk for this)
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 C unbleached, all purpose flour, sifted)
Sweet Paprika for garnish
Scrambled Tofu Ingredients
1 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, and diced small
1/8 to 1/4 tsp tumeric (depending on how yellow and tumeric-y you like your scramble. I use the full 1/4 tsp)
4 scallions, sliced thin (both white and green parts)
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 C nutritional yeast (optional, but recommended!)
Toast your bread and "butter" it. The toast doesn't need to be hot for plating, as long as everything that goes on top of it is hot.
Place all sauce ingredients except for paprika in a small saucepan. Whisk with a wire whisk until well-mixed. Don't heat yet.
Heat oil and garlic over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. When fragrant, add the tofu, and turn heat up to medium-high. Saute, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in tumeric, and mix well. Saute 5 more minutes.
Turn heat on under your sauce ingredients, and whisk again. Heat, stirring often, until mixture starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Stir continuously, until it becomes gravy-like and thick. Remove from heat. (Obviously, if the sauce isn't thick enough for your liking, add more flour. If it's too thick, add more soymilk and whisk.)
At this point, your tofu should be nice and firm. Add scallions, and saute until they are done, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add nutritional yeast, if using. Mix well.
Plate the toast, and spoon the tofu mixture over it. Spoon equal amounts of sauce over each serving. Dust with a generous amount of paprika.
Serve with additional salt and pepper at the table for those who like a more seasoned cream sauce. You can also serve it with the Buffalo Breakfast Potatoes.
Buffalo Breakfast Potatoes
Serves 3 to 6 people
5 medium to large red potatoes, washed and diced (leave skin on!}
1/4 to 1/2 tsp kosher salt (however salty you like it)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 TB vegan margarine
5 TB Frank's Original Red Hot Sauce (NOT the buffalo sauce.. the regular hot sauce!)
Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly oil.
Spread potatoes over paper or oiled sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
Place in oven, and roast for about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium high-heat, melt the margarine, and stir the hot sauce into melted margarine. Heat for about 4 minutes, until boiling. Remove from heat.
Remove potatoes from oven when they are cooked through and browned. Pour potatoes into the saucepan with the margarine mixture. Coat well.
Pour back onto baking sheet and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes. Serve.
(These are going to be VERY tangy, but not necessarily spicy. Reduce the amount of sauce if you don't like it too saucy!)
1/2 C Earth Balance Margarine (or other vegan margarine that is good enough for baking), softened
1 1/3 C organic brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp espresso powder
1 TB vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C of water mixed with 4 TB of soymilk powder (I use Soya Powder in a yellow can.... I imagine that 1/2 C of soymilk would be fine, too)
2/3 C Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder
2 very heaping TB black cocoa powder
1.5 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C chopped pecans or walnuts
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet (or two!) with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, cream Earth Balance, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, espresso powder, vanilla, and salt until fluffy and completely mixed.
Add water/soy mixture, and mix well. Sift in cocoa powders, and mix until smooth.
Add flour, and mix well. The mixture will be hard to work with, but if you keep mashing it together with a fork, it will all mix eventually. Add raisins, nuts, and chocolate chips.
Using a tablespoon or a 1-TB cookie scoop (VERY recommended!!!) drop by tablespoonfuls onto the parchment paper, about 15 cookies per sheet.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes (when you can smell the cookies in the kitchen, they'll be almost done!).
Remove from oven, and let cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on racks.
At 18, I was chubby by American standards. I was probably about a size 12. Maybe even closing in on a 14. But I could MOVE. I could run. I could jump. I could bend in all sorts of positions. Today? Not so much.
Recently, my husband and I got the bright idea to join the gym. At first, I started out at a normal pace, doing what fat girls are supposed to do--hit the treadmill. Even that was a chore for me. All of these lithe, sprinty, little gazelles around me, bounding along with the tireless machine as if they'd come out of the womb running. And all of them have seen the inside of a womb far more recently than I. And then, there I was with my large, pathetic self, trying to at least appear like I could run. In reality, I was doing some spastic hybrid mixture of jog-walking, like a running video played in slow motion. Most likely, to others, I looked like an abnormally-large hamster who had to pee really badly. All the while, I was holding onto the bar for dear life so I didn’t go flying off the machine and splatter my fat, vegan guts all over their pretty, little gym outfits.
This gym happens to offer lots of free "classes." I love the word "free." And as a kid, I loved school. And a "class" constitutes "school" for me. The other night in the locker room while I was trying to tear my sweaty sports bra off of my DD's without injury (imagine trying to peel a grape with mittens on, and that's kind of what it was like), I heard a woman manically screaming "YOU'RE NOT DONE YET!" Oh. Great. Please, gym gods, let this not be one of those "free classes." Tuesday night, I chickened out on the Pilates class. I chickened out on the gym altogether. So I thought I'd make up for it.
Last night, I had the bright idea to tackle not one, but TWO of the free classes! Get as much of a free thing as you possibly can, right? Right? Right. I was frightened. The girl at the front desk called the instructor over. What a seemingly harmless woman! She looked like a porcelain doll, and was about the size of one, too. How bad could she be? I'm fairly certain that those have been the last thoughts of many a chubby gym-goer.
I blindly followed the woman into the "Abs Class." I haven't seen my belly button in about 6 years, so I wasn't sure there was any muscle in there to even be exercised. Therefore, for me, it had to be simple! Anyway, most of it was going to be lying down. My favorite position. Until I heard, "Raise your legs over your heads, pull your belly button to your spine, and CRUNCH!" Crunch? Legs? Raised? Oh God. Please. Don't fart. Don't fart. I'll do anything. I'll go to church every Sunday. I'll give my firstborn to charity. I'll sell my soul to the devil. Just please. Don't fart.
Praise all that is holy, I didn't fart. Not even once, and that's amazing for a vegan. In 2002, I had a near-death experience in the hospital when my appendix burst. Abs Class was kind of like this, only a little more painful. I'd have given my eyesight (what's left of it, anyway) for an epidural and a Jack 'n' Coke. Lift this. Hold. Raise that. Hold. Breathe. Yeah, um, breathe? No. There is no breathing in abs class. Perhaps, this is because my para-sympathetic nervous system was too busy trying to keep the fibers of my stomach muscles together while holding back a giant wad of vomit.
"TWENTY MORE SECONDS, YOU CAN DO IT!" No. No I can't. Those twenty seconds were pregnant pauses on the clock. Seconds took decades. A piercing whistle tore through the room. "YOU'RE DONE!" I pinched myself. I couldn't believe it. I was sure I'd have died from this class. Triumphant, I tried to slither away to find my water bottle and as many Advil as I could shove in my face, only my left shirtsleeve wouldn't come with me. There was a hand attached to it--a tiny, militant hand. An arm was attached to that hand, along with a little body, and a little head. Two giant eyes looked at me. Her mouth moved, and formed words—horrible, hateful words. "You're coming to my next class in five minutes, right?"
My mind had made up its decision: Hell no. My own lips betrayed me. "Of course I am! Wouldn’t miss it for the world!" I couldn't help myself. Why did I say that? I couldn't very well not show up and risk looking like a fat, vegan tool. I ran into the main gym and grabbed my husband. There was no way I was suffering through “Body Shaping” without an ally. I also secretly sadistic and wanted him to be in as much pain as I was. I'm a great wife like that.
We headed into the room, and everyone was gathering brightly-colored modern torture devices. Free weights. Plastic steps. Chairs. Rubber tubes with things sticking out of them. I joined the lemmings in choosing healthy poisons and took a spot in the very unfortunate front-of-the-class area. The teacher walked back in, eyeing her prey. I’m pretty sure she even licked her lips in anticipation of her piecemeal. That was no goddamned porcelain doll I was dealing with. I was about ready to shave her head to look for the “666,” because I am sure, as sure as I am, it had to be there, somewhere.
“TWO MINUTES OF JUMPING JACKS! READY, GO!” I couldn’t feel anything from my boobs on down. I wasn’t positive that I even had legs anymore. But I jiggled. I joggled. I wrestled with my very-pink, incredibly-un-hip tee shirt, praying it wouldn’t release the Ultra-white Fat Roll of Doom for public viewing. I rested. All of these people, effortlessly jumping around me, and I had to rest! Hello, embarrassment! Whatever. This would be the last day of my life anyway, and I’d never have to see these people again.
Bouncy torture was over, and it was time to do some sort of leg-patting dance. Coordination is not one of my strong points. My arms and legs don’t move that way—not at the same time. They just don’t. Just as I was about to prove myself Weeble-worthy and topple over, the miniscule dictator grabbed me and saved me from imminent death. She tried to show me what to do, in slow motion. Her efforts were futile and I stood there dumbfounded that even my husband could do the move and I simply could not.
She motioned for us to pick up our weights and to hold our arms out with the weights dangling from our fingers. Finally, a recognizable move that I could actually do! I usually get a first place ribbon in all Failing At Life contests, but this—this I could do! For about thirty seconds I was able to do that exercise, and then each arm decided that two pounds felt kind of like an anvil sewed to my hands. Fantastic.
When my arms were about as turgid as over-boiled spaghetti, we were instructed to wear our heaviest free weights on the sides of our necks. My own little albatross--in the form of a pastel-purple plastic thing. Yay! We were to wear these things and then proceed to do lunges with them! I looked like a fat reject from the Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” video. I’m also 100% sure that I could have endured 4 hours of surgery without anesthesia instead of this. It would have been much more comfortable and far less painful.
Class wasn’t quite half-over when I came to a horrible realization. The previous “Abs Class” actually had killed me, and I actually was dead. I must have been a reprehensible person in life, because I was sent straight to Hell. I discovered that Hell was actually life on Earth in an endless “Body Shaping” class. The devil was indeed female, 4’9”, and had no tail or pitchfork of which to speak—only a tiny silver whistle, threatening to pierce my eardrums at any given second.
During this nightmare, snapping fingers aroused me from my musings. Pushups. She wanted me to do pushups, people. Hi. I’m about 220 pounds. My wrists lift a fork fine and dandy, dandy and fine, quite obviously. They don’t lift my 220-pound ass. But I tried. I really did try. And I fell, multiple times.
At this point, my lower lip started to quiver, and I fought back tears. Every single drop of embarrassment, shame, and failure welled up hotly behind my eyelids. How could this have happened? When I met my husband, I could run from home to karate and back, with 2 hours of physically grueling class in between. How could I not get through this class without feeling so defeated? I was failing in front of young and beautiful people. I didn’t let myself cry because I had done one positive thing. I’d actually gotten myself there, where so many fat nights before it, I’d only thought about doing something. Turning thoughts into actions is the opposite of failure, so I’d done at least one thing right.
After a few more interesting moves involving chairs and rubber tubes, the class was brought to an end. I’d lived! And the instructor congratulated me (she was probably just glad that I didn’t die on her watch)! My husband and I went home, and I sat on the toilet to pee. Then, it happened—I couldn’t get up. My legs wouldn’t carry me! I sat there for 10 minutes, begging my thighs for just one more upward movement, and then they could go to bed. Eventually, they obliged. Thank God for small favors, kids.
We went to bed, and then the shaking started. I shook uncontrollably until way after midnight. With multiple blankets, flannel pajamas, and thick socks, I could not get warm. I think my body was in shock that I would have done something like that to it. When my upstairs neighbors finally stopped knocking boots, I drifted off to sleep, only to be betrayed by my body once again at 1:00 AM. I had to pee. Cursed bladder! It took me a full five minutes to stand up, but I got to the bathroom and back to bed just fine. My legs were seemingly okay! Maybe class wasn’t so bad and I wasn’t as out of shape as I thought!
And then, this morning, I woke up. Had I been hit by a Mack truck, I’d probably have been more limber today. Smiling through the pain, and obviously a masochist, I donned tights. And boots. And a skirt. Yeah, tights were a very bright idea, if I were vying for a Darwin award. It involves more stretching in 490,923,094 different directions to get them on and off.
I am an avid water drinker. I didn’t think about this today when I filled my huge bottle and drank it all down. (An important aside: My legs keep giving out on me today without a moment’s notice. I cannot sit down without wincing. I also cannot breathe, laugh, sneeze, cough, or do anything remotely human without pain.) After all that water, I had to go to the work bathroom to pee. Peel tights off? Sit down on a hard toilet? Oh, Heaven, help me! Heaven did just that. Heaven is life on Earth, peeing in the stall equipped for disabled people. If I’d had to sit on the shorter toilet, I don’t think I could have done it. I’d rather don diapers and pee at my desk (and if anybody knows an absorbent brand, I’m accepting suggestions!). But the other one, the taller toilet, has these miraculous metal bars! I can lower myself gradually by holding them! And they give me something to hold onto to stand back up! Ahhhh!
Then I realized my tights were at my ankles, and I would have to bend to pull them back up…
I’ll be waddling back to Abs Class again tonight.
So... the holidays are over. Over, over, over! This fat lady has SUNG, boys and girls. Admittedly, I have yet to put my ornaments, decorations, and tree away, but it’s only the 2nd of January and I’d much rather spend my time doing exciting and hip things… like knitting. What?! Knitting IS hip, dammit.
I’m also trying to eat healthier. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions (if that’s what you’re thinking) because they always end by January 7th. However—since I am, by nature, the “chubby vegan,” I’d like to manage the chub just a bit. I have some long-term goals that frown upon my plus-sized ass. Worry not, my friends, I will always be chubby on the inside, even if I manage to de-chub the outside.
Healthy as I may wish to eat, I still don’t feel like being creative in the kitchen just yet. So I changed around THIS recipe to make it way better. I like that the only fat source is from the sesame. I’ll be making it quite often, because it will feed an army and it tastes hella good, yo.
If you make it to feed 6 people, it still comes out to only 11 Weight Watchers Points per serving, which is pretty good for dinner if you add a side veggie and salad and eat well the rest of the day. I’m sad to say that I didn’t take pictures, because I was hungry and forgot. But I promise, it’s deeeeeeeeeeeelish. If you make it, use the fresh garlic, fresh herbs, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. It makes all the difference.
5 TB sesame tahini
5 TB water
Juice of 2 small/medium lemons
2 (15 oz) cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed well
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
1 medium/large onion, chopped fine
6 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic, so use less if you hate it)
4 TB chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
½ C chopped fresh basil (loosely packed)
¾ C chopped fresh Italian Parsley (loosely packed)
2 C tightly packed chopped fresh kale
½ to 1 TB coarse Kosher salt
4 C cooked brown rice (I use Minute Rice to make this a quick recipe)
¼ to ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 to 1 ½ C Nutritional Yeast
2 TB toasted black sesame seeds (or regular, but the black ones are prettier. Whatever.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix tahini, water, and lemon juice in a bowl until it is a creamy paste and set aside.
Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray, or lightly coat with cooking oil of choice.
Place chickpeas, tomatoes, onion, garlic, herbs, and kale into the casserole and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix well, and take a small taste of the “broth” to see if it is salty enough for you. If not, add more salt.
Scrape tahini mixture into the casserole. Mix until very well incorporated, and entire mixture is lightened. Add rice, and stir until very well-mixed.
Stir in nutritional yeast, and smooth mixture down with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with toasted black sesame seeds.
As 2008 approaches, I want to make the assertion that I haven’t fallen off of the face of the planet. For some of you that is good news. For others, maybe not so much.
I haven’t come up with any new recipes recently. When “holiday season” hits, I get very happy, but part of me also wants to die just a little. Any of you with perfect families and stress-free holidays can simply bite me. Trying to devise something brand new that tastes good between Thanksgiving and New Year’s while attempting to field some 500 phone calls a day from my mother would be purely masochistic. Aside from what you may have heard in careless whispers or seen written on a skankalicious bathroom wall, I am not quite that addicted to pain.
Really, though, I sort of miss real food. Some people know that the holidays are here by looking out the window and seeing blinking lights haphazardly thrown on bushes and windows. Some people know by going to the store and hearing those everlasting Salvation Army bells. Some people know by turning on the television and being scolded by every last network that diamonds are the only thing people want for Christmas. But how do I know the holidays are here? I know the holidays are here because I can eat 47 pitas with a pound of store-bought hummus or leftover tortilla chips from Chipotle dipped in brown gravy for dinner, and think absolutely nothing of it.
Well, of course my phone is calling my name and I will have to be going soon. It is my mother, of course, but it’s not holiday related. This time she wants to know if I’d be terribly hurt if she chose a picture for her “parent album” from my brother’s wedding that didn’t include my husband. Did that confuse you? Great! It confused me, too. This is the same person who calls to tell me she can’t talk right now, so don’t read into things too much.
Happy Holidays, everyone!