salads

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: April Edition

I had a disaster that sabotaged some of my meal plan for this month. It was a “somehow the upright freezer door was not closed for an undetermined period of time and everything in the freezer was warm” sort of disaster. So I quickly had to use up some things, so I made tater tot casserole again and a bunch of smoothies and things to use frozen fruit in. I was thankful not to lose as much as I might have; there were spices, flours, and jams in there and I know those are all fine. I did lose probably 8 or so packages of lima beans (boo!) and some seitan pepperoni and a number of quart bags of frozen cooked pinto and kidney beans. Some stuff that was still cold I popped in the other freezer.

So I skipped out on some of the meals I had planned to make because of this disaster, the ones that I hadn’t bought anything specially for the purpose of making.

In other news, I turned 32 (halfway to 64, wheee!) and I bought several cookbooks with my birthday money: Whole Grain Vegan Baking, Vegan Diner, Vegan Casseroles, and the new edition of Vegan With a Vengeance. So now my Isa collection is finally complete (well, once VWaV gets here! it’s not released yet!) and I have loads of new things to try!

Here’s what I made this month! Grouped by source.

From Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World:Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 1.36.52 PM

1. Cocoanut-Lime Cupcakes – I’ve been dreaming about making these for a while, and since we were all sick I held off. Until my birthday. These were delicious and I would totally make them again, especially the frosting because lime is SO GOOD.

2. Chai Latte Cupcakes – I didn’t have black tea, so I used Stash apple-cinnamon-chamomile tea instead. They were okay. I wasn’t really fond of the cocoa powder on top; it just seemed too bitter to me. I don’t think I’ll make them again, but if I do, I’ll just do them naked or with a little basic frosting.

From Everyday Vegan Eats:

3. Leek Potato Soup – I really liked this and it was very simple and yet very flavourful. Much more to my liking than the recipe I tried in January. Also, both GooGoo and Lou Who like it! Every time GooGoo says, “I DON’T WANT ONIONS” I tell her, “They’re not onions, they’re leeks.” She buys it and there is Peace at the Dinner Table.

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4. Báhn Mì Burgers – Must admit the whole idea of this “báhn mì” thing is alien to me. I keep hearing about it but had/have really no idea what it IS. That being said, I am SO IMPRESSED with these burgers! They actually held together and cooked properly in my skillet – something I have NEVER been able to achieve with any other burger recipes! So excited. The pickled veggies were very easy. I used radishes and carrots, and no sugar. (And they tasted amazing!)

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5. Minestrone – This was a big hit! Mr Pine Nut and I both loved it, and it’s already on next month’s meal plan again.

6. Hungarian Tomato Salad – I loved the flavour of this, but for the amount of tomato/cucumber called for, my veggies were absolutely drowning in the dressing! We had to fish the veggies out with a slotted spoon.

From the interwebs:

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7. Teriyaki Chickpeas Bao – I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I saw Vegan Richa post them to Facebook, and I was not disappointed. I used up some sort of homemade Asian sauce I’ve had in my freezer forever, and I had some cilantro so I threw in a bit of that minced up. Super yummy. There wasn’t quite enough filling for all my buns, though, so some of them I just steamed as buns with no filling. I also had some trouble getting my first batch extracted from my steamer, so they mostly didn’t look super gorgeous. Tastewise, they were great, and even GooGoo ate them!

8. Pita Bread – THIS WAS SO EXCITING! It puffed! It pocketed! It tasted awesome! I actually made this twice this month. The first time I did it as dictated in the recipe; the second time I used about a 50/50 ratio of white/whole wheat flour. I actually liked them better the second time, and they even seemed to puff better.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.55.09 AM9. Cabana Cheese Sandwiches – You GUYS, this cottage cheese is the BOMB. It’s totally like real cottage cheese! I didn’t have tomatoes, but I served this on the green monster rolls I made and froze last month with the lettuce and topped it with dilly beans.

Screen Shot 2015-04-10 at 7.54.18 AM10. Pesto Pitzas – I had to sub dried basil for fresh. My only complaint was they were a bit salty, so I would skip adding salt to the pesto next time. The cheese has enough plus the flavour of the capers. It was kind of a lot of work for the results – just four pita pizzas, which was enough for Mr Pine Nut and me, but nobody else – so I don’t know that I’ll rush to make it again, BUT I was so excited about the cheese, because it actually does melt! It didn’t melt so much on ours, but on the plain pitas-with-cheese for the kids it melted more.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 3.04.10 PM11. Hot Brown Sandwiches – I wanted so much to like these, but the sauce was way too noochy and I just didn’t like the flavour combinations or the fact that they were sort of hard to eat. The smoky tofu bits, however, are a definite “will-make-again”. YUM.

12. Bulgur Hummus Wraps – I’ve wanted to make these ever since I won this book during MoFo 3 years ago, and I’m just now getting to it. But they were SO good! I served them in pitas instead of tortillas. This is a definite success in my opinion.

13. Beans Not on Toast – I’ve made the bean part of this before and eaten it on actual toast, but not the waffles, so that’s what qualifies this as a new recipe. 😉 The waffles were great! I was a bit worried they’d seem overly sesame-oily but I hardly noticed it at all in the finished product. I would definitely double the waffles next time though, because four waffles in this family of four was Not Enough.

14. Navajo Tacos – Oh man. These were astonishingly good. I’ve wanted to make these ever since having the book but the frying part seemed like So Much Work, so I didn’t ever get around to it. I doubled the recipe and we ate almost all of it.

From Vegan Brunch:

Screen Shot 2015-04-12 at 8.28.48 PM15. Raised Waffles – These were really good! They did not taste yeasty to me, which I was a bit worried about (I’ve tried yeast-raised muffins before and they just taste like flavoured bread, basically) and I will definitely make them again!

16. Tofu Omelette – I did a half batch of this because I had half a package of silken tofu in my fridge to use up. They were tasty. More noochy than eggy, in my opinion, but good. Half of one was plenty for me. I filled them with chopped red bell peppers that I sauteed in oil and liquid smoke with some fennel seeds.

Screen Shot 2015-04-13 at 6.09.13 PM17. Lemon Poppyseed Muffins – These were okay. I always hope I’ll find a poppyseed recipe I’m super excited about but it hasn’t happened yet! I forgot to add the salt, but they were pleasant with some Nucoa and raspberry jam. 🙂

From Whole Grain Vegan Baking:

18. Raisin Bran Muffins – Super good!

19. Onion Caraway Loaf – I don’t have beer around 🙂 and I didn’t have seltzer water either, which was the recommended sub, so I subbed some of the veggie stock I just made. I’m not sure if it affected it. The bread was nice, I wouldn’t say fantastic, but it was eaten.

20. Spelt Rye Crackers – I didn’t have any spelt flour handy so I used wheat. I liked these but maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for caraway seeds, because neither this nor the loaf above really wowed me. And I love rye bread and caraway seeds, so I dunno.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.06.29 PM21. Blackberry Allspice Muffins – Muffins great; blackberries must have been bad because they tasted weird.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 7.05.56 PM22. Apricot Cardamom Cake – I liked this. It was a bit too cardamom-y for my taste – I think I might replace part of it with cinnamon next time – but I would make it again. GooGoo ate a piece but didn’t want any more, and Lou Who didn’t ask for seconds either.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

23. Macadamia Ginger Crunch Drops – Loved the dough, was not as crazy about the cookies. They were slightly too crunchy. Maybe I overbaked them. I think this would lend itself well to a bar cookie though and if I make them again I may do it that way.

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in April: 7

Did I meet my goal? YES YAY.

See you next month, with May’s recipe report!

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Categories: birthdays, breakfast, brunch, challenges, dessert, lunch, salads, sandwich, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2015, a Recipe Odyssey: March Edition

So I mentioned in this post that I was going to try a monthly meal plan for March, sticking within my budget of $25/week for food. How did it go?

  • Week 1: I spent $19.47 on groceries.
  • Week 2: I spent $24.09 on groceries. Cutting it close! All necessites for my week’s plan.
  • Week 3: I spent $20.30 on groceries. Roughly $10 0f that was absolute necessities for my planned menu, and I got some extra goodies! (okay, it was mostly bell peppers and avocados.) I ended up not doing all the planned meals because I had lots more leftovers than previous weeks, plus I was sick.
  • Week 4: I spent $26.60 on groceries. This included what I needed for the little bit of overlap for the last couple days of March.
  • But I did end up using the rest of my money buying a couple staple/pantry items that I’ll use next month too.

Keep in mind, we do have loads of bulk stuff stored in buckets from More Prosperous (or simply more reckless?) Times of the Past, and we have a separate line item for bulk food (and I spent all but pennies of that $50 this month aside from the above), so the above is strictly fresh veggies and staples like oil and sugar.

Speaking of oil and sugar, I bought a regular bottle of veggie oil and a 4lb bag of sugar for Week 1. As of the end of week 3, the oil had been long gone and another bottle half-used, and the sugar is all but gone. I find this disturbing.

Here’s what I made! Grouped by source.

From More Peas, Thank You:

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 2.15.48 PM

1. Corn Chowda with Cornbread Croutons – GooGoo has been pestering me to make a potato soup for weeks now. I finally make one, and will she eat it? No. Sigh. She did like the cornbread croutons and the side of broccoli, though.

 From The Veg Feasting Cookbook:

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2. Carrots in the Raw – This salad was very easy, requiring few ingredients, and went great with the burgers we had for lunch. I left out the raisins and just added some extra pumpkin seeds instead, because fruit in a vegetable salad is just weird to me. The following day we had the leftovers on top of lettuce. Yum.

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3. Cumin Carrot Soup – This became steadily more disgusting the more of it that I ate. Mr Pine Nut thought it was good, but I heartily disagreed. I couldn’t taste cumin at all; even though I reduced the pepper it was way too peppery; worst of all the texture was just gross. Will never make again.

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 8.09.31 PM

4. Turkish Lentil Soup – SO good. I was a little concerned, because the cinnamon smelled really strong while it was cooking, but as far as taste went, I didn’t even notice it. The flavours were all blended perfectly with nothing overpowering anything else. I was pleased, and would definitely make this again. Way better than the vomitous carrot sludge.

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5. Spicy Yellow Dal – I didn’t have toor dal, but the book suggested subbing yellow split peas, so I used green split peas. It took a lot more than 2 cups of water to cook the peas, but this was overall quite a simple dish to assemble and it was very tasty. It was at the edge of my heat tolerance level, but very good. We ate it with rice and steamed broccoli.

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6. Mexican Black Bean Salad – This was fairly simple to throw together, and it was a meal for Mr Pine Nut and I (with the addition of lettuce, and some bread on the side). It had a good flavour, but the recipe called for no salt. I added a tiny bit, but more wouldn’t have hurt. I’m not sure I’ll make it again, but it was fine.

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7. Cabbage Curry – This was SO easy, and very tasty! I added the garbanzo beans to make it a meal, but the flavour was great and the heat level perfect (that is, not very hot. :-)) It’s a dry curry, and you could really use any veggie (or combination thereof) instead of the cabbage – cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, &c.

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8. Cream of Veg Soup – This was just okay. Mr Pine Nut and Lou Who loved it; GooGoo wouldn’t touch it, and I didn’t finish mine. It was better than cumin-carrot soup, but I found it just too salty even though I’d diluted it considerably.

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9. Chickpea Mash Stew – I really liked this, despite it being totally different from how I envisioned it would be. Lou Who loved it too!

10. Super Noodle Soup – Very basic. The special thing about it seemed to me just that all the veggies get cut up very tiny (1/8″ dice), and I had to add a lot of extra salt and some garlic powder because it just didn’t have much flavour without. It was good, but I don’t think I’ll rush to make it again.

11. Pulao Rice – This was pretty easy. I used brown rice so I changed the water proportion and cooking time, but it came out very nice and I liked it. I wasn’t super fond of the whole idea of having to pick out all the whole cloves, cardamom pods, and other such things though.

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12. Chickpea Curry – I was prepping my ingredients for this and it calls for a 4-oz piece of ginger, thinly sliced. I only have (frozen) grated ginger, so I got it out and the frozen glob I had weighed exactly four ounces. The problem is that four ounces of grated ginger is like… a CUP’S worth. So I called out into the twitterverse and got confirmation that for the amount of curry, that seemed like an awful lot. So I decided to do 2 ounces instead. The end result was a curry with a good flavour… under an intense heat. I burned my entire digestive tract raw and had steam coming out my ears from eating it. So yeah, I doubt I’ll be making this again.

13. Saffron Rice – I made this to go with the abovementioned curry as per the book’s suggestion. It was okay. I wasn’t overly thrilled with it.

From the interwebs:

14. Parmesan Muffins – A friend made these and raved about them, so I decided to try them, because I need to get more savoury muffins into my culinary repertoire. They were excellent! I used flax instead of eggs (so 2T ground flax and 6T warm water), and I was too tired/lazy to make my favourite almond parmesan so I just used some Daiya mozzarella shreds I had in my freezer. And I left out the sugar.

15. Brownie Coco-Nut-Butter Cups – !!!!!!! YUM !!!!!! So, I made these for a potluck and forgot to take them with me. Oops. What a tragedy. 😉

From Vegan Simplicity:

16. Vegan Red Beans and Rice – This was good, but not great, which seems to be (so far) my reaction to most of Mark Anthony’s recipes. I bought this cookbook when he came and did a presentation/cooking class at our church and really haven’t used it much yet, so I definitely want to give it more of a chance before passing judgement. At any rate, this called for 3/4 cup of vegan margarine. O_O It also didn’t *look* super appetising.

17. Sri Lankan Style Mixed-Bean Soup – No picture; it looked sludgy and not super appealing, kind of pooplike, so like the red beans above the visual appeal was nil. But it tasted pretty good.

From Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day:

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 1.06.30 PM

18. Green Monster Bread (made into bagels/rolls) – I used rye flour and caraway seeds in with this and like it a lot! It seems a tad on the sweet side, so I think I’d reduce the sugar next time, but aside from that this was a definite “something I’d make again”. Way to sneak some kale into my girls’ diets (and mine).

Ten Talents (1978 edition):

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19. Carrot Salad – I thought the combo of carrot/pecan/cocoanut seemed a bit odd, but decided to try it anyway, and it was really good! Also very simple. I served it on a bed of lettuce/cabbage just to give it more variety but I would totally make it again.

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar:

20. Cornmeal Poppyseed Biscotti – I hate lemon poppyseed bread. That being said, these were really good! I was surprised. I don’t know that they’ll be something I’ll make really often, but I brought some home from a potluck and know I’ll eat them. 🙂

21. Rocky Roads – I’ve had these before but haven’t made them before, and my suspicion that I’d like them better without the almond extract was completely correct. They are addictive, amazing, and I think the dough would be the perfect chocolate cookie base for a whole bunch of mix-ins. I’d like to try it plain too.

Everyday Vegan Eats:

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22. Chickpeas and Dumplings – A bit too salty but it was really yummy anyway!

23. Black Bean Feijoada – Really, really good!

[ETA: 24. Macaroni Salad – I made this on a whim the last day of March, and it was GOOD]

Cookbooks [or other sources] represented in March: 8

Did I meet my goal? Barely! I was worried the last week or so that I wouldn’t hit 20, but I did.

See you next month, with April’s recipe report!

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Categories: bread, challenges, cookies, dairy-free, dessert, lunch, salads, side dish, soup, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Vegan Month of Food, Day 18: Fruit Salad

One of my favourite salads growing up was called Five-Cup Salad. It was something my grandma made a lot and involved sour cream and marshmallows… about as un-vegan as you can get. But oh, was it tasty. So I decided I would make a layered salad in tribute to the original Five-Cup Salad. I knew it wouldn’t be quite the same, but was sure it would still be really good.

saladtop

I started out by making a batch of this pudding recipe. After sitting to set overnight, it came out rather the texture of congealed beef fat. Just a tad gross. But the flavour was good, so I decided to use it anyway. I took my handmixer to it and mixed it and broke it up until it was about the texture of cottage cheese. I added a teaspoon of lemon juice and a tablespoon-ish of soy milk to help it along. It was still lumpy. But I was okay with that.

So, after you’ve made the pudding and let it set, here is the rest of what you do.

Drain thoroughly:
20oz can pineapple chunks
15oz can mandarin oranges

Once the fruit is drained, spread a bit of the pudding on the bottom of your bowl. Layer pineapple, pudding, oranges, pudding, pineapple, pudding, and garnish the top with the remaining fruit and some cocoanut.

So, here’s the thing. I went to take a bite of the salad and it blew my mind. I had, accidentally, replicated Five-Cup Salad to the T. The lumpy pudding had a distinctly marshmallow-y flavour and texture. I think the only thing I’ll change next time I make it is to double it, because everybody snarfed it down and I didn’t get very much.

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Categories: challenges, dessert, recipes, salads, side dish, snacks, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2013 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Vegan MoFo #9: Florentine Salad

florentine salad

Gleaming green, crisp, and tangy. Read on.

I have to confess, I’m really not a salad-making person. Or a person who makes just veggies. I’m a person who generally tends to mix up everything in one pan and serve it up, like a soup, or a  stir-fry or a curry, that includes greens and veggies and protein all in one. But when we have fresh greens, it’s nice to have a salad, and I must admit my imagination kind of sputters out when it comes to salads.

We don’t have any fresh greens from the garden right now except kale, which I’m still learning to like (I know, what kind of vegan doesn’t like kale?), so I had to buy the spinach this recipe called for. Spinach I have gotten to like quite well, shockingly enough, being the person notorious for Not Wanting to Eat Leaves.

I purposely picked several salad and veggie recipes out of the cookbook just to learn some new ideas. This salad is actually really quite good. The lemon juice gives it tang, the garlic gives it zip, the bright green leaves are a pow of colour (Tang! Zip! Pow! This starts to sound like a Batman comic.)

Anyway, I was pleased. I left the tofu out of mine and replaced it with more bacon crumbles, because I didn’t want to thaw out a whole block of tofu just for the little bit required. But next time I have fresh or thawed tofu handy at the same time I have spinach, I’ll probably add it in. I also left my garlic mincings in the oil, because I’m too lazy to fish it out of the oil a little raw garlic never hurt anyone.

This recipe was originally found on page 132 of the 1978 Betty Crocker cookbook.

1 clove garlic, slivered
1/4 c finely cubed tofu (this is to replace the egg in the original recipe and is optional)
4 T oil
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz spinach, torn if desired
1 T bacon crumbles

Let garlic and tofu stand in oil 1 hour; discard garlic (if desired). Mix oil, lemon juice, salt in salad bowl. Add spinach and toss until leaves are well coated. Sprinkle with tofu and bacon; toss.

Categories: challenges, lunch, nut-free, recipes, salads, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2012, vegetables | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Vegan Mofo #2: Bright Bean Salad

In order to make this recipe, I first had to go out to my garden and pluck a carrot from the loving bosom of the earth.

weird blobby carrot thing

You really never know what the loving bosom of the earth is going to spit out at you, do you?

I reckoned that this weird blobby carrot thing was probably mostly equivalent to one medium carrot. So I chopped it up. Also while I was out in the garden I picked some parsley. Since I had Lou Who in one arm and the weird blobby carrot thing in my free hand, GooGoo helped by carrying the parsley in the pockets of her new denim dress she’s so proud of that came from a slightly older daughter of my good friend Edda. (Okay, so really GooGoo’s just proud to wear anything that has pockets.)

And then I came back to the trailer and I mixed it all up. The original recipe called for some creamy herbed ranch dressing, and that seemed like too much work and I don’t really like dressing all that much anyway. So, if you want to use some sort of herbed vegan dressing or something like Vegenaise, have at it, but what I’ve done here is just used a little oil and the herbs you were supposed to add to the dressing. A little more healthy and a lot less slimy (to me). I also didn’t cook the beans; I thawed some we had frozen in hot water and called it good.

bright bean salad

The finished product.

This recipe was found on page 137 of the 1978 Betty Crocker cookbook.

1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 9-oz package frozen green beans, cooked and drained
2 T chopped onion (try 1 tsp onion powder if you’re a raw onionphobe)
1/8 tsp salt
1 T olive oil
2 tsp snipped parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried thyme

Mix all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

lemon juice water

For part of the four hours I waited I did actual stuff. For the rest of the four hours I sat here with other MoFo blogs and the PPK and a Tazo tea bottle full of the juice of one lemon, three drops of iodine, and cold water. It felt so earthy to gulp down pulpy fresh lemon juice and I’m sure a couple seeds, too.

Then lunchtime came and we had the bright bean salad with some soup and chickpea cutlets. Our verdict: it was just okay. The beans really should have been cooked, and I think that in itself would have improved it a lot. I think I’d probably use a sweeter onion next time too.

Categories: challenges, gluten-free, lunch, nut-free, recipes, salads, side dish, soy-free, vegan, vegan mofo, vegan mofo 2012, vegetables | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

A Sandwich Spread Salad

Garbanzo Salad

This is like a cross between tuna salad and chicken salad and I ❤ it on sandwiches.

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (or 2 cups of home-cooked garbanzo beans)
2 Tbsp leeks or green onions, minced
2 Tbsp vegenaise or mayo of choice
1 Tbsp Dill Relish or finely chopped pickles (I like Bubbies pickles)
Celery salt to taste

Mix ingredients. Serve with lettuce and tomato (or whatever other fixings you fancy) on a whole wheat bun.

Note: Garbanzos from a can tend to be harder than home-cooked ones, so I recommend smooshing the beans a bit before mixing the other ingredients together. Otherwise, they have this slightly annoying tendency to band together to start an anti-consumption revolution and roll right off your sandwich onto your plate.

Categories: recipes, salads, vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tabouli of Deliciousness

For my first salad post, I’m going to actually link you to another blog, because as I was browsing my recipes, this one called my name.

My favourite tabouli recipe is here. There’s even a nice demo video of how to make it!

These are the only things I changed when I last made it:

1. I didn’t add the mint. (I’m not overly fond of it. So that’s up to you and your personal taste.)

2. I didn’t have olive oil, so I just used whatever oil I had on hand at the time.

3. I don’t always have fresh parsley on hand, so I think once I substituted 1/2 c dried parsley flakes for the cup of fresh.

It’s a super easy recipe and I’ve taken it to potlucks at church twice and it has always been a big hit, with people asking to take any leftovers home.

Enjoy!

Categories: recipes, salads, vegan | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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