Vegan Mofo + The 7 Meal Challenge + BOOK REVIEW Cooking With The Seasons: Fall/Winter

by JL Fields on November 1, 2010

Happy World Vegan Day! To celebrate World Vegan Day I’m offering a discount on a fabulous new vegan cookbook that I review later in this post, so be sure to read the entire post for details.

It’s Vegan MoFo! The Vegan Month of Food! My goal this month is to write as much as I can about vegan food. Um, kind of what I do already.  But write every day?  I don’t think I can commit to writing seven days a week, so how about this?  My first Vegan MoFo post features seven meals, in one post!

The 7 Meal Weekend Challenge

My husband and I decided to avoid restaurants this weekend. After two weeks of cleansing we wanted to keep that whole, healthy-foods-glow going!  So, the challenge: choose a meal and make something you’ve never made before.

HIS:  Friday dinner, Saturday breakfast, Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch
HERS: Saturday lunch, Sunday breakfast, Sunday dinner

I should point out that my husband is not a vegan. So special kudos to him for eating the vegan meals I made for him and for making a vegan version of each of the meals he prepared.

db’s Friday Dinner: Black Bean Baked Potatoes (recipe below)

db’s Saturday Breakfast: Vegan Pancakes

Love my man making breakfast!

He found a vegan pancake recipe on and substituted a 50/50 split of almond flour and buckwheat flour for the all-purpose flour and used rice milk.

Topped with maple syrup…divine!

JL’s Saturday Lunch: Chickpea Bite Pitas

What timing! Angela posted a delicious recipe this week: Crispy Chickpea Bites in the Oven.  While these were baking I made a dressing (recipe below) to drizzle over the pita sandwich and spinach salad.

I tossed one pita into the oven for five minutes and then stuffed half a pita with baby spinach and cucumber slices and then added two Crispy Chickpea Bites.  I drizzled the Sesame Tahini Dressing over the sandwich and salad.

This was a fabulous meal and the omni husband loved it, too.

db’s Saturday Dinner: Reuben-ish Pizza

Before he got busy in the kitchen, the husband built our first fire of the season (now, when I say “built” I mean lit the Duraflame)

Baby cat was diggin’ the fire.

On to dinner.  He made two “Reuben-ish” pizzas (recipe below):  a vegan one for me and one with meat (boo!) for him.

Hello?! This is a vegan blog! This is the vegan version. YUM! Bravo!

JL’s Sunday Breakfast: Vegan Breakfast Casserole

Oh my…

I’m in love! This new breakfast was deemed a delicious success! (recipe below)

db’s Sunday Lunch: Grilled Veggie Sammy

The grill master made His (vegetarian) and Hers (vegan) sandwiches (recipe below)

The vegan sammy

A winner!

JL’s Sunday Dinner – A Cooking With The Seasons: Fall/Winter sampler meal / Book Review

I recently purchased the Cooking with the Seasons: Fall/Winter e-cookbook from The Blissful Chef.  This cookbook is perfect for someone like me!  The recipes are wholesome, fresh and yet not at all intimidating! What I particularly loved is that most of the ingredients are on hand because I have a well-stocked vegan kitchen and I pick up local, seasonal food from my farmers market.  Christy Morgan pulls together hearty, and light, dishes using the bounty of the season. Stuffing, gravy, Moroccan azuki beans.  I can’t wait to try all of these dishes!

For the “finale” of the 7 Meal Weekend Challenge, I chose to make a three-course meal, featuring recipes from Cooking with the Seasons: Fall/Winter:

artichoke & chickpea spread

cucumber salad w/ toasted almonds

chestnut & sweet potato bisque

chestnut & sweet potato bisque (reprinted with permission from Christy Morgan)

  • 1 lb fresh chestnuts (or 2 cups peeled)
  • 1T saffflower oil or 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup onion, diced
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1t dried thyme
  • 2 cups sweet potato (not yam), cubed
  • 5 cups filtered water

This soup is simple and so satisfying but it does take some time and patience to shell the fresh chestnuts.  Feel free to buy pre-shelled to save time.


Boil chestnuts for 20 minutes.  If using fresh, slice them in half and scoop out the flesh.  You should have about 2 cups of flesh.  In a soup pot, heat oil or water over a medium high flame.  Add onion, pinch of salt, and thyme and saute for 5 minutes.  Add water if onion starts to stick.  Add sweet potato and rest of water.  Bring to a boil then simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.  Add chestnuts, cook for 5 minutes more and then turn off flame and cool soup slightly.  Puree in blender or food processor, then return to pot and simmer until warm again.  Serve immediately.

This soup was absolutely delicious.  Both the vegan and the omni in the house loved it.  And I have GREAT news….Christy is giving my readers a discount on her book! You can purchase the e-book for just $4.99 here: Cooking with the Seasons: Fall/Winter.  You will want to add this cookbook to your collection!

Now for our weekend RECIPES:

db’s Black Bean Baked Potatoes (in his own words)
Serves 2

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes  – washed and pierced
  • 1 can organic black beans – rinsed and drained
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • Cumin
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili powder

Bake, or nuke, your sweet pertaters.  Your choice.  (If you choose to bake them, get the oven hot, and put them in about 15 minutes before you start the rest of this shenanigans)

In the meantime, over medium – medium-high heat, saute onion, and carrot for 3-4 minutes in olive oil.  Add some salt. Add the garlic.

At about this time, toss the sweet pertators in the wave (if you haven’t already tossed them in the oven, like, 15-20 minutes ago.)

Stir or toss if your talented enough to toss the contents of the saute pan without an implement.  Add beans.  Stir or toss (again, if you have the talent….)  Add cumin, thyme, chili powder (eyeball it – do it to taste…..there are no measurements allowed in my cooking unless I’m baking.  Cuz then, of course, it’s like a science class in college where it’s mandatory that you measure everything).  Toss more, and let heat up for 3 minutes or so.

Yank your taters out of the wave (seriously, don’t bake them… takes forever).  Cut em’, squeeze em’, and toss a little Earth Balance on em’.

Spoon the bean goodness / mixture / concoction on top of the tater.

Again, as I’ve said before, allow your vegan partner to take pictures of the best looking of the two servings.

Serve with a tall glass of hooch and enjoy.

JL’s Sesame Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1t Vegenaise
  • 2t sesame oil
  • Dash of garlic powder
  • Dash on onion salt
  • 2T water

Simply mix.  I placed the dressing on the stove, which was nice and hot, to make a “warm” (not hot) dressing.

db’s Reubin-ish Pizza (in his own words)

I was originally going to make Hungarian goulash.  But the thought of a sour cream (or fake sour cream) heavy dish made me burp.  And as I was craving pizza throughout the cleanse, I thought I’d move ingredients from the stew pot, to the pizza crust.

Pre-heat oven to 450 or so

  • Half a package of uncooked whole wheat pizza crust (store bought, dairy section) OR homemade pizza dough of your choice.
  • Saute sliced (small pieces) of beef, pork, or seitan (for the omni or vegan in the house).  Saute with garlic, dash of onion powder, salt, pepper, cumin and thyme.  Set aside
  • Drain a few handfuls of good sauerkraut.  We get ours from the farmers market – it’s yummy.

Stretch the pizza dough on a cornmeal or flour dusted pan or pizza stone.

Spread your preferred Thousand Island dressing (recipe below) on in place of tomato sauce.  Follow that with two pieces of Swiss-flavored rice cheese (for the vegan) or shredded Jarlsberg (for the omni).  Toss on the kraut.  Note, use a little more dressing and kraut than you think you should.  Trust me on this.

Slice up some onion and toss that on there too.  Then top with seitan or meat (whichever you prefer).

Toss in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until crust looks yummy and cheese is bubbly.

Slice, plate, and eat.  (or take pix if you’re a food blogger.)

db’s Thousand Island Dressing (in his own words)
(adapted from a recipe found on Food Network)

As I only needed enough to cover a pizza, I cut all the measurements down quite a bit.

  • 1/2 Clove garlic, minced
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Vegenaise (mayonnaise for the crazy omni in the house)
  • 1 Tablespoon of organic ketchup (plus a little more to taste as necessary)
  • 1 Teaspoon of sweet pickle relish
  • Dash of salt and pepper

Mix it all together.  Adjust ingredients to taste.  Easy-peasey.

JL’s Vegan Breakfast Casserole
Serves 4

Pre-heat oven to 375; Spray a baking dish with olive oil

Saute the following in a skillet for about 8 minutes:

  • 1T olive oil
  • 1 half of a small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 small carrots, diced
  • 1 half of a large green pepper, diced
  • 2 cups of kale, torn into small pieces
  • Dash of thyme
  • 8 strands of saffron
  • Dash of sweet basil
  • S+P to taste

In a blender:

  • 1/2 block of tofu
  • 2T almond milk
  • S+P to taste

Blend until mixed (less than a minute)

In a large mixing bowl mix the blended tofu and cooked veggies.  Fold in a 1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheddar cheese and pour into casserole dish.  Place thinly sliced tomatoes over the casserole

Bake for 35 minutes.

db’s Grilled Veggie Sammy (in his own words)
Inspired / half-stolen from a great restaurant (Sweet Lorraine’s) I used to hit up back in my Michigan days.

  • Hearty bread – Sourdough works very well.
  • Cheese – Muenster, Swiss, or Daiya mozzarella cheese for the vegan
  • Avocado
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Alfalfa sprouts

Use Earth Balance or some other vegan butter-esque spread of choice to slather on the bread.

Heat up your grill pan or skillet, and slap the bread in there (“butter” side down, of course).  A griddle is easiest, as you can do all four pieces of bread at the same time and save yourself the hassle of flipping a large sandwich.

On one side of the bread / sandwich, put your cheese of choice, avocado slices, and a hunk of sprouts.  On the other half, place the onion and tomato slices.

Grill until bread is golden brown and cheese is melty.  Gently grab the half of your sammy with the onion and tomato and place it on top of the other half (again, this is much easier than trying to flip the whole darn thing.)

Cut in half, plate, take a photo, and snarf down.

We had so much fun with this “new meal” challenge that we may do it for the rest of the month! A perfect way to honor Vegan MoFo!

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