Keep rolling, rolling, rolling

Keep rolling, rolling, rolling

Vegan breakfast is a tricky thing. It’s not hard to find recipes for something sweet, like oatmeal topped with almond milk and maple syrup. But if you’re like me, you want something a bit more savoury, and perhaps more meaty.

If I ever commit fully to a plant-based diet and cut out eggs, I know I’ll miss breakfast sandwiches until I find a good replacement. But good news! I think I’m on the right path.

One of my favourite breakfasts to make nowadays is tofu scramble. Unlike a lot of other plant-based eaters, I just season my tofu with nutritional yeast, salt, pepper and garlic to get the flavour right. Nothing against turmeric, just not my style.

I was craving breakfast burritos, and knew I would want something like that the morning after weekend-before-Halloween festivities.

I tried something a bit new here to make them: I marinated the tofu in a mixture of warm water and nutritional yeast to season them. Then, when it came time to cook them, I actually cooked the tofu in the marinade, and let the liquid simmer off!

Take it straight from the veracious meat-eater himself: “This might as well be eggs and sausage, it tastes just like it.”

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To make four Vegan Breakfast Burritos, have all this ready:

  • 1 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage
  • 1 package of medium-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1/4 pico de gallo or fresh salsa
  • 1 can of refried beans (*check that it’s vegan!)
  • 4 burrito-sized tortillas (*get the biggest ones you can.)
  • 1/2 of a jalapeno, diced and with seeds removed to your heat tolerance (*more seeds = more heat)
  • 1/3 of a white onion, diced up
  • dollop of cashew sour cream (*have you tried hot for food’s recipe yet?)
  • 1/2 cup of Daiya’s pepperjack shreds
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • pinch of salt & pepper
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • optional add-ins: avocado/guacamole, cilantro, diced tomatoes, whole black beans, tortilla strips, the sky’s your limit here!

Let’s get started. Drain the water of our tofu, and tear up into small chunks. Add nutritional yeast to warm water, and stir so it is thoroughly mixed. Put the chunks of tofu into a container with tall enough edges to coat each piece in the marinade, and seal. Leave it in the fridge to marinade at least overnight – which, hey, this is a breakfast dish, so it should be easy enough to try!

When you are ready to make some burritos, have all your ingredients ready – because you don’t want to be stuck scrambling for ingredients.

Pour your tofu scramble mixture into a frying pan – marinade and all – and turn it up to medium-high heat. Allow your mixture to cook the liquid off and get thicker, this will take about 15 minutes.

Diced up your vegetables, and fry the prepared white onions in a small pan. When translucent, add salt and pepper to taste, and add jalapenos.

Tear up small pieces of the Field Roast Sausage, and add to tofu scramble mixture when it has become significantly thicker.

When the mixture looks like basic scrambled eggs and sausage, you know it’s done. Take it off the heat, and get your tortillas ready!

To soften up your tortillas, microwave them in a damp paper towel for 15-20 seconds per tortilla. If you lack a microwave, either toast them in a frying pan that’s big enough to hold it, or in the oven for a few minutes on 400 F.

Grab your tortilla, and lay down a coat of refried beans. You don’t need a lot, and you don’t need to heat it up thoroughly before this step either.

The order to which you layer your burrito doesn’t matter – except for the Daiya cheese. This cheese does need to melt, or it just doesn’t work. So be sure that it’s either close to the tortilla, or close to the scramble in the middle.

Roll your burrito up, and secure it by putting the open end on a flat surface. Take a pan, and add olive oil. Put the burrito with the open end facing down, so you can seal it shut, for 5 minutes on medium-high heat.*

*Watch your burrito carefully during this step! It’s easy to get distracted and burn the tortilla, don’t follow me lead on that one.

Flip your burrito, and do your best to crisp up all side of the wrap (yes, even the adjacent sides that seem impossible. But it can be done! I’m rooting for you!)

Finally, place the burrito on a cutting board, and slice that sucker in half when you’re ready to serve it. Show off the entirety of the burrito, you’ve got nothing to hide!

Best thing about a recipe like this is that you can add as much to it, or take away as much as you want. How would you make your vegan breakfast burrito?

Gobble, gobble, no gobble

Gobble, gobble, no gobble

This year, I had my first Thanksgiving without turkey.

Actually, it was a big thanksgiving of ‘firsts.’ First Thanksgiving away from my immediate family, first Thanksgiving with my boyfriend, and first Thanksgiving that I was going to be preparing for other people.

I’ve decided to give Pescatarianism another whirl, but opted to make the challenge even harder by preparing an all-vegan thanksgiving for myself this year. Yippee!

Ideally, I will be fully vegan one day. But I decided to ease my way back into eating plant-based by cutting out the more problematic meats first – including chicken, pork, and beef. Plus, I really treasure salmon sushi, and I haven’t yet escaped the cognitive dissonance of avoiding one kind of meat and eating another.

Anyway.

Thanksgiving seemed like a good time to try and make a veggie feast! We hit up Whole Foods to maximize on our combined Yuppie-ness, and began the preparations.

But first, pumpkin spice cookies by Pillsbury (which definitely aren’t vegan, I’m aware), accompanied with pumpkin pie coffee from Paramount Coffee!

This, folks, is how you thanksgiving.
yaaasssssssssss

Then, the cooking started. I’m actually very surprised we managed to cook a delicious meal, with about six servings of leftovers, all in a tiny apartment kitchen – even more so that it all fit in his fridge!

We shared all the vegan dishes I made, but he made Gordon Ramsay’s Stuffed Roast Chicken with Chorizo Stuffing to go along with it. Admittedly, it looked pretty amazing, especially for his first time roasting a bird. But I know I could make a really tasty vegan version for myself. 😉

Meanwhile, I cooked up vegan mashed potatoes by My California Roots, this Thanksgiving side from Julia’s Album, and this vegan stuffing from Veggie Primer. I swapped out butternut squash for a yam when I made the side dish, and took the cranberries out of the stuffing. I thought maybe there was too much cranberry going on during this whole day.

But can you ever have too much cranberry on Thanksgiving?

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my dinner! mm mmm mm mm MMMM

We picked up vegan mushroom gravy from the hot bar at Whole Foods, along with a few slices of Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. Ultimately, I think this was cheaper than my original plan to cook up Gardein roast and make mushroom gravy from scratch.

the whole spread, ft. BF's fishies
the whole spread, ft. cranberry ginger ale on white wine. ’tis the season!

So how did cooking actually go? Well, I entirely forgot to put veggie broth into my stuffing – so it was on the dry side. Wait, did I say dry side? I mean that it actually burned onto the bottom of the baking dish. Whoops.

I cooked the yams and brussels sprouts a bit too long, I’m not too proud to admit that. But it was still pretty tasty! I prefer crunch to my brussels sprouts, but the yams still faired well when they got tender.

The mashed potatoes brought me back to my childhood instantly. So tasty, so buttery. The perfect leftovers to eat today.

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by the way, I routinely post my meals on my instagram story. (@montana_rc)

All in all, a tasty meal and a great day to spend with someone I really care about. He loooooved the food, and that makes me really happy.

Onto the next big holiday!

*wave emoji*

Hello, old friend. It’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it?

As it happens, I started a new writing endeavour and committed to the idea of a regular schedule, just for my life to get flipped upside down.

Since I last posted something that wasn’t from the archives, I moved across the province and started not one, but two new jobs. Everything has been crazy, but I’m not complaining one bit. It’s been the best kind of crazy. My life has been insane this year, and I welcome any regularity something like a side-blog can provide.

So here I am, in front of you, hoping you forgive me for the worst of internet sins: leaving you hanging waiting for more content. Not leaving a note or nothing.

It’s now fall, but to make up for my lack of presence, I will share with you my summer of incredible food.

Reviving #beautifulsandwichesinbeautifulplaces for the sake of this vegan banh mi from @wholefoods. Oh my. 🙊

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Vegan bahn mi sandwich from Whole Foods. Bruh. BRUH. I haven’t had a sandwich that made me so at peace with my inner turmoil as this sandwich. And it’s so simple! Pickled vegetables, cilantro, and Field Roast slices? Impeccable.

Get on my level. #latergram

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Veggie pizza and Passion Fruit Ale from Billy Miner Alehouse in Maple Ridge, BC. True story: I had leftovers from this pizza and I was so hungry the next day that I woke up at 6 a.m., went downstairs, and brought it back to bed with me.

My Friday is starting off very nicely, thanks. #eatyogreens

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Tofu scramble with a cup of joe. I was pretty lucky this summer, I had Friday mornings off exclusively. More mornings away from work means I can cook these meals and relax. And isn’t that all we want in life?

💯

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Turkey sandwich on Cranberry Sourdough at Gratia Bakery & Cafe. Gratia is known mostly for their fresh-baked bread and cakes, but their sandwiches could easily steal the show. I don’t need to go into another tangent about how much I love veggie sandwiches, but trust me when I say theirs is the bomb.

I didn't come here to make friends. #beautifulsandwichesinbeautifulplaces #kaboombox

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Fried oyster po boy from Kaboom Box. The Kaboom Box is a food truck that serves lots of seafood meals, such as salmon burgers and fried oysters. They’re usually downtown, but sometimes come to festivals.

Fish tacos from Tacofino. This, right here, is how you do a first date.

Starting the day right! Breakfast with @thegdtravman 🍽

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Tofu scramble from The Red Wagon. Guy Fieri certified (the restaurant at least, not the dish.) As far as I know, Guy Fieri has never touched a vegan dish before.

I died and went to nacho heaven last night. #latergram

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BBQ Pulled Pork nachos from 10 Acres in Victoria. Arguably, one of the best parts of dating is having someone to help you finish food.

Appies at @doyousaiwoo last night were sooooo tasty 🙈

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Apps without zerts at Sai Woo, a relatively new joint in Chinatown.

Bruschetta from Red Beard Cafe in Kamloops. I’ve already gushed about this place, and I hadn’t been there in well over a year. It brought back some great memories to go again!

Share with me some of your favourites foods over the last few months?

#TBT: Where them veggie sandwiches at?

#TBT: Where them veggie sandwiches at?

When’s the last time you had a really good veggie sandwich?

I used to work in a cafe that had daily lunch specials, and one was a veggie croissant. Essentially, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, and green peppers on a croissant with mayo and mustard. You know how they always say “less is more?” That was the philosophy working here. Something about it worked wonderfully, and it was always a hit.

A wise woman (well, more like one of my best friends) once said, “Veggie burgers and sandwiches are usually better because they have to make up for the lack of meat with flavour.” And she’s so right.

Of course, a veggie sandwich can become less healthy than a BLT real quick if you’re not careful. But generally speaking, making a sandwich up of just veggies is such an easy way to get more fresh vegetables into your diet, and feel satisfied without the greasy, heavy feeling of a burger.

Figure one, this sandwich.

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Hello. Is it me you’re looking for?

Look at this beauty. Red Beard Coffee delivers. It’s just red pepper, avocado, basil, arugula, balsamic dressing and chipotle mayo on rye. And let me tell you, the combination of flavour would have just been muddled by deli meat. This is perfect as is.

If you need more convincing, look at this one.

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fyi: I started the hashtag #beautifulsandwichesinbeautifulplaces because of this photo. Please join in on the conversation so I can see all the other beautiful sandwiches out there.

Avocado, mozzarella cheese, tomato, spinach, and hummus on a ciabatta bun. If you’ve never had a sandwich from Terra, you’re missing out big time.

Let’s all embrace the meat-free sandwiches in our lives, they do so much for us!

#TBT: Here are some healthy salads even your boyfriend will eat

#TBT: Here are some healthy salads even your boyfriend will eat

Let me just say that getting on board with salad is a universal struggle. It is hard and we all have to do it to live happy, healthy lives.

Not too many people grow up loving it unless they’ve been fed proper delicious salads all their lives. But, unfortunately, most people envision iceberg lettuce smothered in ranch dressing with a tomato on top when they think of a salad, and that’s off putting to everyone, even healthy people.

So with that in mind, sometimes I don’t blame long-suffering partners of fit people for having a hard time wanting to eat salad with their SO to help support their diet changes.

Just looking at the boyfriends of the world for a bit, I think a lot of dudes feel like a meal can’t satisfy them without bread and/or meat. Sure, a pile of iceberg lettuce with some ranch for dipping isn’t going to cut it. But there are lots of salads that will. Here is a personally compiled list of salads that any man I know would probably opt to eat, due to crazy deliciousness.

I want to add a disclaimer before I continue, however. I’m not trying to push any idea that men always have a huge appetite, and women always live off of scraps of leaves and twigs. But I would argue that men and women are socialized to enjoy food differently, and what you learn that way is hard to break out of. If anything, I would like to point out that you can identify as a man and eat a meal without starch! You can eat a meal without meat! It’s possible.

Anyway. Let’s look through this list.

Gateway boy-friendly salad – Chicken Burrito Bowl

This isn’t a salad so much as it is a burrito without the tortilla. But burrito bowls are one of those things that can be as healthy as you want, or as fattening as you want, and its a good start if you want to start serving healthy food he’ll eat.

Doritos Taco Salad

Now following on the heels of the chicken burrito bowl.. is this the most healthy salad? I assume not. It has Doritos in it. But try to get bae to say he hates salads after finishing this. Impossible. It’s a walking taco, but you’re not walking, you’re sitting down eating it. Everyone has always dreamed of a sitting walking taco. Amazing.

Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Really flavourful, with jalapeños, chicken, and even rice noodles to get your starch fixing. Not only that, but it’d make good leftovers to eat during a midnight snack run. Is it you doing the late-night snacking, or him? Only time will tell.

BLT Bowl

Essentially, this is a BLT without the bread – subbed in with avocado … and cheese. Really, when you think about it, a good salad is just a sandwich without the bread. And that’s a good enough reason to eat one.

Ribeye Steak Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

You can’t make a man-friendly salad list without including a steak salad. Honestly, that salad looks monstrous and intimidating. I like it.

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Asparagus

An upscale salad that doesn’t rely on greens at the base, but also doesn’t sacrifice being sophisticated as well. Plus, it’s a great make-ahead dish that you can just eat whenever you feel hungry and need something at an arm’s length.

Antipasto Salad

This one is like a charcuterie board over a bed of romaine lettuce. And honestly, it looks so simple and delicious. You could probably pick at it with your fingers if you disregarded cutlery altogether.

BBQ Chicken Salad

This is like the MVP of guy-friendly salads you can make. Full of flavour, and lots of different things going on that aren’t just greens. It’s likely one of your safest bets for trying to get a guy to eat more greens. Plus, you could put it in a wrap if you need to meet halfway and modify it a bit with some starch.

Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday!

Really, what are tacos if you’re not going to celebrate by eating them on Tuesday? Unconstitutional.

Tacos are kind of a staple in my diet. I almost always have tortillas in my pantry, just waiting. These ones I have here today are black bean tacos. I opted for black bean tacos because I had a lot of them to use up. I got impatient with a big bag of bulk beans I bought, and cooked them all at once. But that’s another can of worms.

But a taco with beef, or pork? Or chicken? But why? I’ll tell you why.

My go-to is typically chicken or fish if I’m having one with meat, but I almost prefer the simplicity of a taco with tofu (Sofritas, maybe?) or black beans. They don’t feel heavy or greasy that way, either.

When they’re lighter, you can eat more of them. See, vegans are on to something. And that’s what these tacos are, is vegan.

How do you prepare these? Well. For a serving of three tacos, you’re going to need at your disposal:

  • one can of drained black beans
  • three tablespoons of pico de gallo
  • three tablespoons of guacamole (homemade, or store bought. I’m not picky.)
  • three soft corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup of chipotle sauce
  • a few sprigs of cilantro

ingredients you can totally use that aren’t pictured: red onion, banana peppers, iceberg lettuce, kale, tomato chunks, avocado chunks, hot sauce???? why not???

First, warm up the tortillas. If you have an oven to use, cool. Put them in there at 350 degrees for a few minutes. If not, just microwave each one for about 15 seconds.

Next, warm up the black beans, because no one like cold, nasty slimy beans on their tacos. No offense if you do. Drain your can of black beans and use about 1/2 cup for the filling. This is really up to you, stuff the tacos with as little or as much filling as you deem necessary. As you can see, mine are kind of light on the beans.

Combine the allocated beans with chipotle sauce. How do you make chipotle sauce? Buy a can of smoked chipotle peppers in sauce, put in a blender, add 1/3 cup of water to start, and blend until smooth. This makes the sauce go further, and also less atomic. Really, that stuff will burn if it gets in your eye.

(Of course, feel free to omit the chipotle sauce and use salsa or something more mild if you can’t handle spice. You’re not a failure if you can’t.)

Microwave the beans, or cook on the stove top if you’re ‘fancy.’ Once they’re hot, yay, congrats, you’re done!

Assemble the tacos. First, smother the tortilla with guacamole. Then add the beans, pico de gallo, and cilanto.

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Oh baby.

Bam! You are done! Enjoy.

Oops.

Oops.

I was supposed to write a blog post yesterday.

I can hardly imagine I have an sizeable amount of people following me to even have noticed, but I failed. I didn’t get a blog post up. I’m a sham, a fraud.

To make up for it today, I’ll give you a glimpse of my food diary while I was away.

So I went to Edmonton for the weekend with my parents. I know, it’s not the first place people immediately think of an an exhilarating weekend getaway. But I like Edmonton, and it’s a six-hour drive for me to get there. I thoroughly enjoy being in cities, and like being surrounded by interesting stuff. The hustle and bustle doesn’t affect me at all.

I can’t tell you it was much beyond visiting West Edmonton Mall goes, as far as experiencing the culture of the city and dining at a restaurant unique to Edmonton goes. But I had a great time getting out of my town.

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I ate too much of this spicy salmon roll before I remembered that I should document it. This came from Oranj Sushi Bar, a fairly decent sushi place, considering its in landlocked Alberta.

It’s always a fun surprise to see how spicy the sushi roll is going to be, because it varies from place to place. Will it be slightly hot? Will it sear my tongue off? Who knows?

Also: Does anyone else feel like they’ve wasted a lot of someone’s money by not eating the wasabi that comes with sushi? I do love pickled ginger, though.

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Seared Ginger Tuna Salad. Is it obviously that I’m a fan of raw fish? I guess so. Mostly when other people prepare it, I’m scared of making myself sick if I do it. I was really caught between this or a pizza, and ultimately chose this because you have no idea the kind of weekend eats I was taking part in.

Finally. This beautiful creation.

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This is what I was dreaming of since I knew I was coming to the city. I haven’t had a Yogen Fruz frozen yogurt since before I finished school last May. Oh man, this hit the spot. I am such a sucker for the type of frozen yogurt, it’s simple, creamy, and not too heavy or sweet to eat. Perfect.

Not pictured from the weekend: a donair poutine, four shared plates of calamari, oatmeal and hashbrowns from McDonald’s, breakfast at Cora’s, popcorn twists, chocolate, beef jerky, vitamin water, a hot dog from a gas station, hummus and pretzels, seafood spaghettini, multiple Starbucks drinks, and a spinach and feta wrap. ie. the quintessential road trip diet.