New Pancakes On the Block
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one pumpkin pancake recipe to rule them all

I already have one pumpkin pancake recipe, and it’s pretty good: rich, pumpkin-y, not too sweet. It uses molasses, which at the time of recipe-creation, was something I always had lying around the house. Now I’ve finally managed to clear the multiple bottles of molasses out of my cupboard, but that doesn’t mean that the pumpkin pancakes need to stop. So, I came up with a new and improved pumpkin pancake recipe. These pancakes are amazing. They’re light and fluffy while still providing the intoxicating tastes and aromas that pumpkin has to offer.

This recipe makes an obscene number of pancakes, 20 to be exact, but that gives me an opportunity to share my perfect pancake freezing tip. Let the pancakes cool to room temperature, and then cut squares of parchment paper, a little smaller than the pancakes themselves. Layer a pancake, a piece of parchment paper, and another pancake. Keep going until you have a stack tall enough that it fits snugly inside of a plastic bag, and slip them inside. When it’s time to reheat, there will be no frozen stuck-together pancakes.  Also, you can reuse the pastic bags as often as you like, since they’re just pancake-freezing vessles now.

Dear Mr. Wynn
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Dear Mr. Wynn, thank you, thank you, thank you for being the first casino in Las Vegas to offer Veganoptions at every restaurant. While I have to request to see a copy of the vegan menu, instead of seeing it prominently displayed next to the main menu, I do very much appreciate having an actual booklet to look at. Also, I very much enjoyed your Money Train Monopoly slot machines, and as a players club member and winner of $30, I will be back.

I’m sure that many of you have heard that the Wynn offers vegan options now. Most of it has to do with Steve Wynn going vegan. I wanted at least one fancy dinner while we were in Vegas, so I dragged my boyfriend all the way to the end of the strip. It was a little difficult to figure out where we wanted to have dinner, because none of the vegan menus are available online.  Our first strop was Stratta, an Italian restaurant on the casino floor. They had a vegan pasta dish and a cheeseless pizza option, which wasn’t all that exciting considering our lunch the day before.

Vegan in Vegas
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A few weeks ago, we spent a long weekend in Las Vegas, which remains one of my favorite places in the entire world. The first time I went to Vegas after going Vegan, I was apprehensive. I was worried that there wouldn’t be anything to eat, and did a lot of research into the matter. That first trip went fairly well, but I stuck mostly to pasta with tomato sauce (and a side trip to Ronald’s Donuts). This past trip, I had the advantage of safety in numbers. Since my boyfriend and I are both vegan, we got to share the challenge and adventure of feeding ourselves in a city known for it’s all-you-can-eat shrimp cocktail. The following is meant to serve as a brief guide of some places that we managed to find food.

Thanksgiving Rambling
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Well, we managed to pull off a fully vegan Thanksgiving without giving anyone food poisoning. Oh that’sright, that’s because I got the food poisoning out of the way before the holiday. I was doubled over in pain, cursing that spinach salad and Mrs. Winston for selling it to me. My boyfriend came through though, cleaning the house and taking care of a lot of the prep. By Thursday, I was hobbling around and the two of us got dinner on the table.

Our sensible Thanksgiving dinner consisted of “turkey” seitan, mashed potatoes, miso gravy, baked carrots, green beans almondine, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. I tried to up the healthy vegetable factor with the green beans and carrots and opted out of a sugary sweet potato dish. My boyfriend’s seitan was absolutely amazing. It managed to taste hearty and tangy, almost like meat, without being overpowering or having too realistic of a texture. The meal was rounded out with an apple tart, tofu pumpkin pie, and vegan apple pie. It was delicious, and no creatures were harmed in the making. Most of these recipes have been posted already, but here is the lone holdout: my delicious cranberry sauce.

Cranberry Sauce

2 c. fresh cranberries

1 c. water

1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. fresh squeezed orange juice

1 TBSP orange zest

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

Combine the sugar and water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When it begins to boil, add the cranberries, orange zest, and spices. Cook for about 4 minutes, until the berries start to burst. Stir in the orange juice and cook a little longer, until it begins to thicken. Remove from heat and chill. The cranberry sauce will become about twice as thick as it cools.

Lasagna, the Oil-Free Way
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OK, I will admit that I talk a big game when it comes to McDougalling. In October, I made it a full two weeks on the McDougall plan (with some minor deviations), but that was all it lasted. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a great lifestyle, but even I had a very difficult time keeping up with all the at-home cooking required. Also, many of the recipes that we tried left us feeling a little underwhelmed. I think it’s great to be aware of and limit your intake of oils (or any processed food for that matter), but I’ve hung up my McDougall hat once-again. I do know, however, that some of my readers are curious about the plan and would appreciate some tested recipes. So, here is one for a vegan tofu ricotta. It was a little too cheesy for my tastes, and I would reduce the nutritional yeast if I went back and did it again. I would also probably substitute fresh basil for the dried basil, because it might have livened up the flavors a little bit. I used this “ricotta” in a vegetable lasagna, where I layered brown rice lasagna noodles with spinach, zucchini, these cheese, and tomato sauce.  It was pretty good, but it’s telling when something like this lasts in our refrigerator for more than a week.

I Got a Rock
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Bonus points to any commenter who can spot the connection between the title and the recipe.

Let me tell you, I am a girl who loves herself some risotto. I put together this

paired with baked carrots and delicious asparagus

particular recipe hoping to get it up before Thanksgiving, because I know that some of you will be entertaining guests with gluten issues. However, my trip to Vegas and deathly sickness (more on both in different posts) made that a bit difficult. Don’t worry though, because the T-Joe’s and Whole Foods are still full of canned pumpkin, and this risotto is the cure to any boring weeknight meal. It takes a little while to put together, just because of all the stirring, but it’s creamy and filling and just seasonal enough. It’s only fair to mention that I tried bringing some in for work the next day, and I just wasn’t feeling it the second time around. Risotto tends to get too soggy if you leave it in the fridge, but something about the ginger, nutmeg, and pumpkin sitting together for too long just didn’t work out. It’s perfect the day-off though, so just use it as an excuse to not leave any leftovers.

Baked Carrots
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This Thanksgiving, I want to try something a little different. Usually, my Look at how delicious that broth is!Thanksgiving is made up of creamy casseroles and sugar-laden side-dishes. It would be easy for me to veganize those dishes and call it a day. But, knowing that the average American consumes something north of 3000 calories on Thanksgiving, I’m going to go another way. Sure, I’m still going to serve up the sweet potato casserole (with reduced fat and sugar), and I’ll probably even go with the string bean and mushroom casserole with french fried onions. However, I’m also actively seeking out side dishes that feature  fall vegetables paired with delicious spices.

So, instead of taking some carrots out of a can and slathering them in butter and brown sugar, I decided to find a savory side dish that would give the root vegetables all the credit they deserve.

Just Like Mom Used to Make
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Cream of mushroom soup: anyone from my generation knows that there are many different

Mine is brown because I used soy sauce in the gravy. You shouldn't do that and I shouldn't have either.

things one can do with a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup.  You can pour it over chicken for a fancy dinner dish, you can use it in a chicken pot pie, and sometimes, if it’s a major holiday, you can mix it with string beans and bake it into a casserole.

Which brings me to an interesting conversation I had the other day. Allegedly, in the midwestern states, a casserole is a dish that is always made with Ritz crackers and Jello. What I call a casserole is referred to as a “hot dish”.  I would appreciate it greatly if anyone out there could shed some light on this for me. A quick google search did turn up some evidence in favor of this assertion, but I would really love it if someone actually from the mid-west could corroborate.

Anyway, this is the first of my Thanksgiving posts. During the month of November, we will be test-driving recipes for the end of the month. Hopefully we’ll be able to scare up enough people to actually host a Thanksgiving dinner, but if not, at least there will be plenty of seasonal fun for us and plenty of ideas for you.

C’est Le Pumpkin
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Bonjour and welcome to a French-themed edition of Mis-Adventures. My boyfriend and I are both hard at work with our Rosetta Stone, and by hard at work I mean that some days when we’re not too busy, we work in a lesson. He is better about it than I am, but I also took French in college, so it’s mostly been review for me. The other day, I decided to help him with his studies by creating some flash cards. They included handy sayings such as “I am a vegetarian”,  “I do not eat dairy products”, and most importantly “Where is the House of Chanel?”.  To help get us in the spirit (and also to satisfy my insatiable appetite for pumpkin), we came up with a way to make pumpkin french toast. This is based off a recipe that uses bananas in place of eggs, but we substituted pumpkin for the banana and reintroduced egg replacer powder to bind it all together. Since this was a part of my Mcdougal week, we broiled the french toast instead of frying it up in a pan. It was not only brilliant, but it was also delicious.

Shitake Mushrooms #fail
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You take the good, you take the bad, you take them all and then you have?

A food blog. The other day I picked up shitake mushrooms at the farmer’s market to put into a soup. This is when I realized that I don’t really like shitake mushrooms, especially if they are in a soup. I would have fared better if I had been using crimini mushrooms or button mushrooms, because they tend to be a little firmer and would have held up better in the soup. If I were to do this recipe over, I would use different mushrooms, or maybe even experiment with dried mushrooms. Othat than that, the blend of warm vegetable broth, udon noodles, and bok choy (my favorite superfood!). For a spicy kick, you could add a dash of red pepper flakes.