Speechless Sauce

21 Jan

I posted this picture to Instagram this afternoon.

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And it seems everyone is intrigued by it. If you’re not familiar with the fast food joint that “thinks outside the bun” then you might not know what those look like but I’m assuming most of you do.

Long story short, I live with an omnivore and tend to drool when said omnivore orders these so I decided I needed to figure out a vegan version AND I DID!!!!! It’s simple and delicious and the sauce is freaking amazing you’ll want to put it on everything!!

Vegan Cheesy Crunchy Tacos
Corn taco shells
Fluffy flour tortillas
Cheddar Daiya shreds
Shredded lettuce
Speechless Sauce
Prepared TVP
1 packet of taco seasoning

*remember to check ingredients for no animal products. All of my ingredients are national brands or store brands but make sure to check.

Speechless Sauce
3/4 cup vegan sour cream( I used Tofutti)
1/2 cup vegan mayo
1tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp jalapeño juice from jarred jalapeños
1 jalapeño’s worth of jarred slices or to your taste
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar shreds
1/4 of a red bell pepper
Salt and pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, adjust salt and pepper and spice to taste.

Taco “Meat”
To prepare the TVP taco meat I just boil 2 cups of water with 2 tsp of veggie bullion paste(or two cups if veggie stock) add enough TVP to absorb all of the liquid. Remove from heat and add the packet of taco seasoning. Add a bit f water if its too dry. I found “hamburger” TVP in a store while I was on a business trip, which is what I used, but regular works fine too.

To assemble, heat the hard shell taco. Sprinkle a little cheddar Daiya on a flour tortilla and microwave just enough to melt the cheese. Wrap the soft shell onto the hard shell and let it sit for a minute so it all sticks together. Layer in the meat, sauce and lettuce and devour!!!!!

I think after my post gym smoothie, these will make a fantastic and fast dinner every night this week!!!

Obsession: Jackfruit Tacos

13 Jan

I have many obsessions; beets, smoothies, coffee, anything orange, AND among many other things, mexican food.  I love anything that faintly resembles Mexican food clear up to authentic Mexican food.  Now you may be wondering how I eat anything other than chips and salsa since Mexican food is full of cheese, cream and lots of meat.  I love chips and salsa(and lived on it through college and a few years after) but I’ve figured my way around the meaty cheesyness to still enjoy my favorite mexican food and create some new favorites.  

ENTER JACKFRUIT!!! 

If you’re not familiar with jackfruit, google it(I’m having trouble getting the link to load).  I buy my young jackfruit in brine, at my local Asian store.  When i first learned about jackfruit, it was the fact that it was similar to pork and when cooked low and slow it would shred just like pulled pork.  I bought some, cooked it low and slow, added some barbecue sauce and i wasn’t thrilled.  Then i was watching something on TV and they shredded the jackfruit in a food processor(like you would do with cabbage or carrots) and it looked exactly like shredded chicken or pork. I shredded it, threw some marinade on it, cooked it on the stovetop in a nonstick skillet and WALLA it was amazing and a new obsession had entered my life.   Since first finding out how I like to prepare my jackfruit, I’ve made Greek jackfruit tacos with a tangy mayo, kalamata olives, pepperoncini and red onions and buffalo jackfruit taquitos with all of the spicy heat we all love and an herby ranch dipping sauce but my most recent creation is a variation of the widely loved Al Pastor tacos.  

Al Pastor is a mix between Mexican pork tacos and Mediterranean schwarma.  It is spiced with achote, a couple different dried chilies, onion and pineapple(among other things as you will see at the ingredient list). I’ve always wanted to try Al Pastor but I learned what it was AFTER i stopped eating meat, enter an opportunity to get creative.  The marinade is extremely flexible and adaptable to your certain taste but this is my recipe.  I just didn’t find any recipe that i thought would suit my taste so I came up with my own and I think its beyond phenomenal.  SO without further adieu…………………..

Jackfruit Al Pastor Tacos

2 cans of young jackfruit in brine, drained and well rinsed then shredded in food processor

1 package corn tortillas

1 small head of Napa cabbage shredded( I slice mine thin with a knife rather than in a food processor.  Its just my preference)

Cilantro Lime Dressing(recipe below)

1 big bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

1 lime, juiced

2 pinches of salt and pepper to taste

3/4 Cup vegan mayo

1 Tbsp agave

1/4 to 1/2 tsp garlic paste

Blend all dressing ingredients together, season to taste, and set aside for at least an hour for flavors to blend together.  

1 white onion finely diced for garnish

whole torn cilantro leaves for garnish

Marinade

2 Tbsp ancho chile powder

2 Tbsp guajillo chile powder

1 Tbsp achote powder

1 tsp tumeric

1 tsp ground corriander

1 tsp smoked sweet paprika

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 Tbsp ground cumin

1 Tbsp white vinegar

1 heaping Tbsp crushed fresh garlic

1 small can pineapple tidbits in pineapple juice

Squeeze fresh lime juice(half of a lime)

1 chipotle in adobo, finely chopped

1/2 Tbsp adobo sauce

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Blend all ingredients for the marinade together and thin marinade with fresh orange or pineapple juice so it has the consistency of a thick sauce.  Add in the shredded jackfruit and mix so that all of the jackfruit is well combined with the marinade.  Let marinate overnight or at least a couple hours.  Image      

This is what the Jackfruit will look like before you mix it with the marinade.  After it has marinated for at least a couple of hours(or when you’re ready to eat) head a large nonstick skillet on high heat with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil.  When the oil is almost smoking, add all of the jackfruit and press into a layer that covers the bottom of the pan, layer on one thinly sliced white onion and let the jackfruit brown on the bottom.  After it has browned for two or three minutes, stir mixture and continue browning jackfruit until the onions are translucent.

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When the jackfruit is ready, spoon in warmed corn tortillas(I double them up in case one rips). 

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 Top with raw, chopped white onions.

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Add the cilantro lime dressing.

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Top it all off with a big handful of shredded Napa cabbage for some cooling crunch.

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Stuff your face and enjoy.  There’s really no elegant way to say it because you’re going to want to go all carnal on them because they’re that good.  Trust me. 

I keep all of the components separate and just heat the jackfruit up each night and assemble for dinner each night when i have leftovers.  They’re amazing as leftovers too.  

Sidenote: since this is flavored with a lot of spices, buy good ones.  I get mine at a local spice shop but if that isn’t an option, get the best you can from the regular grocery store.  It definitely makes a difference.  

Well, there you have it. I hope this inspires you to try jackfruit whether you’re vegan or just wanting a new Meatless Monday option.  

Happy Vegan Thanksgiving

28 Nov

So what do vegans eat during the holidays??? Um, food? How is that even a question? But alas it is the first question I get wen talking to people about holiday get togethers.

As a self proclaimed “foodie” and a vegan, the holidays are the perfect excuse to test recipes on normally unwilling subjects( who will know that one certain pie has tofu instead of eggs in it, as it sits amongst all of those other pretty desserts??) This year I tried a few recipes I had found and a few of my own but here’s a rundown of my holiday spread, along with a brief commentary if each.

Cinnamon Soaked Wheatberry Salad from Vegetarian Times Magazine- eh it was ok but I’d trade the cilantro for parsley next time and lessen the maple syrup in the dressing, after the apricots soaked it up it was way too sweet.

Mediterranean stuffing with figs and hazelnuts- tooooooo many nuts, it was super rich with the port wine soaked fruit. I’d adjust a lot of components next time. I also had to bake it until it was black to get it not soggy.

Fresh Greenbean Casserole with vegan cream of mushroom soup- the soup is my original recipe which was made better by some added oyster mushrooms thus time around. The fresh green beans were amazing ad I will definitely be making this again. Recipe for the soup will be in a later post.

Lentil Walnut Loaf- from Oh She Glows I love this recipe. It i made two loaves originally and had already eaten one through the course of a couple weeks so I was just tired of it by the time thanksgiving rolled around. Great recipe, I used an old fashion hamball sauce on it instead of the given one.

Maple Pecan Pie from Post Punk Kitchen I will forever shout my adoration for this blog, books and anything from Isa and/or Terry. The only thing I’ve never been thrilled with are the brownie recipes but that’s another topic for another time. BUT hands down my go-to for anything deliciously vegan. The pecan pie did not disappoint. I think I’ll use less pecans next time so there aren’t as many “wet nuts”(aka liquid soaked and not caramelized like I like) and more of the custardy center. It satisfied the two old school- mama made them right- no funny weird stuff on my plate type men at our get together. I call that a win.

AND to top it all off here’s a picture of the goods. Not the best dinner spread I’ve made but no one went hungry.

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Glamping: Rosemary Garlic Sweet Potatoes

22 Oct

 

This past (extended) weekend I had the priviledge to go camping with Ms.Thummprints. Now this wasn’t your average camping, it was in a cabin, with running water, electricity, a build in fire pit, fully functioning kitchen and gorgeous lake views so we coined the trip as a glam camping or “Glamping” trip. We’ve been friends since a whirlwind European trip after our freshman year of college and even-though she transferred after our sophomore year we’ve stayed in touch.  Our glamping reunion trip just happen to be where we met: Kirksville, Missouri home of Truman State University.  AND it just happened to be homecoming weekend for my Alma Mater but my priority was to have one very relaxing weekend on the lake at Thousand Hills State Park. Mission: Accomplished.  Not only was it an amazing relaxing get away, we had some amazing food, some new, some old but all phenomenal.  Because of the food awesomeness I was heavily encouraged to start blogging again, starting with all of the food we had on our trip! How easy is that??? WELL I’m keeping to my word and starting with the most amazing, beautiful, addicting, crave-worthy, awesome, “recipe”(I use that term loosely because they’re so easy).

Rosemary Garlic Sweet Potatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 large sweet potatoes, washed and cut into 1/2 to 3/4 inch discs

5-8 sprigs of rosemary leaves, chopped

2 packs of Papa John’s garlic butter dipping sauce(trust me on this, AND there’s no actual dairy in it) so make sure to order extra when you get pizza next time

salt and pepper to taste

1-2 TBSP vegetable or olive oil, not necessary but if you need a bit more liquid to get all of your potato slices coated just use a bit more oil

All you do is mix all of the oil, butter sauce, herbs, salt and pepper together and coat all of your sweet potato discs.  NOW what made these outstanding, we cooked them over the bonfire but if you don’t have a fire pit at your disposal(like me, on a normal day) you can roast them in a 450 degree oven until they’re cooked through.  The grill gave them a crispy, grilled, smokey flavor and it was like a warm sweet potato salad. If we hadn’t made veggie burgers and smores waiting in the wing, we’d have eaten all of these AND maybe have gone back into town to get the supplies for more.  Make. Them. NOW.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  I almost fished out the potatoes that got dropped into the fire through the  grill grate, I didn’t want to waste something so good.

Bluff Creek Triathlon Recap

19 Jul

Bluff Creek Triathlon Race Recap:

This was my first triathlon experience, and what an experience it was(to say the very least). I did the sprint distance but I’m almost certain that my perspective could also go for the Olympic distance course. This year the race was held on Sunday May 20, 2012 at Don Williams Park in Boone County, Iowa. My two alarms were set for 2:55am so I had enough time to get up, collect all of my gear and be to my friend’s house by 4:30am and be to the park by 6am so we could grab our race gear and set up with plenty of time. I got up right with my alarm, I knew it was nerves because I am normally good friends with my snooze button. I quietly got all of my stuff ready, did some quiet time and prayed(because I knew there was no way that I was getting through a triathlon without the Lord’s help), slung my bag over my shoulder, grabbed my bike and left my house not knowing what shape I’d be in when I returned. I had trained, but then I hadn’t. I’m incredibly hard on myself, and I went in not knowing exactly what I was capable of. I got to my friend’s house, racked her bike with mine on the back of my car and we were off. We chatted on the drive, but my mind was on FOCUS mode. When I’m facing something uncertain, I get extremely quiet and emotionless, quite the contrary to my normal persona.

It was a COLD 58 degrees outside as we parked and made our way from the parking area to the transition/check-in/marking area. All loaded down with our bikes and gear, I quietly walked my bike down the hill as my friend chatted with everyone who passed by. I wasn’t nervous, but I was very focused. We checked in, taped our numbers onto our bikes, got marked, and set up transitions. I had read multiple triathlon race recaps, and everything I had read was all becoming real for me. I was actually going to be doing this. As I silently set up my transition area, I glanced around at the seasoned professionals, nervous beginners and college athletes I found myself having to work hard at fighting back the thoughts of doubt and concern. I wasn’t toned and trimmed like the guy racking his bike across from me, I wasn’t the girl down from me who was just doing this race for fun on her ironman training plan, and I definitely wasn’t the college triathlete using this race as an Olympic qualifier. I was just Meredith, a girl who was doing this on her journey to change her life. As thoughts of doubt and regret and anxiety flooded my brain, I stayed stone-faced as my friend and I decided it was time to board the bus to the beach.

I think I was one of the only people who didn’t have a wet suit for the race but I’m extremely glad I didn’t.( I bought one but returned it because I thought I’d be too flustered trying to get it off coming out of the water, and I was totally right.) I didn’t really have a whole lot of prep work to do except strip down to my swimming suit and bike shorts, and let’s face it, I tried to put that off for as long as humanely possible. Once we could put that off no more, we stripped down, and boarded the bus to take us to the beach which is where things got interesting. It had been overcast and chilly every since we left Des Moines and it had continued to get a bit colder since arriving at the park. The swim was an across the lake, from beach to boat ramp, swim. We got to the beach and got in the water which felt heavenly warm compared to the chilly weather on land. And yes, there were people peeing themselves to stay warm, I know because they told me. I remember standing barely in the water and looking out across the lake, thinking it would take a miracle to get me across that lake. I was only used to swimming laps in a pool, definitely not the same thing. There were so many rescue boats on the lake to help anyone who needed it and I prayed I wasn’t one of those people. Staring out on that lake, it hit me. This was do or die. The only way off of that beach was a 500 meter swim across the lake.

I stayed in the water as long as possible until it was start time, at which point it started to rain and got extremely windy. Awesome. We were released in waves between the men, women, sprint, and oly divisions. As soon as I got past chest deep water, not only did my goggles fog up but my lungs froze up and I forgot how to swim. I tried a couple of times but came up spitting nasty lake water so I butterfly/paddled my way across the lake. Motto of the day: just get there. I was probably the last person coming out of the lake but I felt strong as I got to the boat ramp and then gravity hit as the two wonderful volunteers grabbed my hands and pulled me up past the drop-off. I felt like a newborn giraffe trying to stand. I quickly found my land legs as people cheered me on(holy cow, I almost cried every time someone I didn’t know cheered for me, which was the whole race). Right as I found my land legs, everything below my neck went numb from the cold. I looked to my right and saw my family screaming for me, I gave a half wave that said “I’m ok.” as I ran into transition.

I quickly tried to squish my feet into my shoes and put some clothes on to get me through the bike course. I heard my dad’s voice off to my right, “Was it cold?!?!?!?” I shook my head “yes,” as I held back tears of gratitude for my family. I composed myself and re-focused on getting out of transition in a good time. I mustered a tank top on along with my required helmet and headed out. The bike course was an out and back on a county road and HOLY CRAP did it test my patience, endurance, will, and faith. Not only was it and out and back, on that day it was an out and back ALL uphill out with 30 mph complete and total headwind. Super. I was on a hybrid bike that my local bike shop fitted me on in case I hated the sport, at least I had a nice bike to take on leisurely rides after the race. I contemplated the poor salesman’s death as I felt like I was riding backwards for eternity as people were riding by me saying “there’s a nice tailwind once you turn around, you’re almost there!!!” I wasn’t ever almost there, it was forever until I was almost there. So on my way back, I started contemplating all of those people’s deaths. Through the bike course, I contemplated quitting, turning around at multiple points and just not admitting I didn’t ride the whole course, falling in the ditch until someone realized I was missing, hitchhiking to the nearest bar and/or complete and utter defeat of all kinds. This wasn’t helped by the fact that I had to ditch my bike as an ambulance came wizzing by me to pick up someone who had crashed their bike. And yes, I wished I were that someone as I got out of the ditch and continued up Mt. Bluff Creek. I felt every single inch of that 15 mile ride. I prayed and pleaded with God through the entire ride and audibly screamed “Oh, THANK GOD!!!!” when I hit the turnaround point. I should have been able to do that distance in less than an hour but I just KNEW I had been out there for an eternity. I finally got back to the park and into transition solely by the grace of God. I racked my bike, took off my helmet and replaced it with a hat and started on the run course. I tried to run but my legs were numb from the cold and from the horrendous bike course so I run/shuffled for the bulk of the run. I wanted to cry but didn’t want to waste energy. I wanted to quit, but I was already 2/3 of the way done. I wanted to finish so bad I could taste it. I was out of all strength and stamina going into the run. The run was an out and back cross country style, so some gravel, some grass and some pavement on the run. I was beaten, battered, sore, numb, completely void of any energy but the run course solidified my love of this sport. I still tear up thinking about it. I would say that 95% of the people who passed me or I passed on the run course said words of encouragement, and not just “good job!”, “keep going” or “almost there”, but one person always crossed running traffic each time we passed to get a high five, and I heard the full range of “you’re my hero”, “you make it look so easy”, and “you’ve got it in the bag”. THAT is the reason why I didn’t quit, not just the other competitors but the volunteers were all so extremely positive and encouraging(except for on the bike course, could have used some out there).

I hit the turnaround point and knew that even if I crawled, I was crossing that finish line. I made it up the one hill, almost crawling, and off of the pavement onto the grass. I turned a corner where someone asked me “Is this your first triathlon?” I shook my head “yes,” as they said, “YOU DID IT, the finish line is just ahead!!!” As I turned sharp left, there it was. I came out of the woods to see my family waiting at the end for me. I had thought about and dreamed about that very moment for 8 months. Through winter training, soreness, injury, mental weakness, and near defeat, they were always right beside me cheering and supporting me. As I crossed that finish line, earning the label of “triathlete” and crumbling into my dad’s arms as one big shivering, hysterically sobbing the words “I did it!! I did it!!”, I knew this was just the beginning. I will be back and I will be back with a vengeance, Bluff Creek.

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Pumpkin Love

13 Oct

Below is an email that I sent to my Tri-training partner and as you will read(yes I left it in) I realized it would make an excellent post. And seeing that i haven’t posted since, ok we don’t need to know how long, I thought it would be great to share. I have one HORRENDOUS picture of my oats today from my phone but I’ll spare you and continue to promise GREAT and WONDEROUS pictures of fantastically weird food I’ve been eating and making that are currently on my real camera. I promise( and I don’t make promises, so this is huge) to get some real pictures up here ASAP. Ok, read on dear friends.

Ok, so rather than try to type this on my phone, I’m emailing it to you for your reading pleasure.

BREAKFAST: has always been a bit of a mystery to me, most important meal of the day. That is a HUGE thing to live up to and COMPLETE breakfast, crap, what’s that. Definitely not poptarts and some toast(do they know that that’s a very carb heavy breakfast when they make commercials for easily influenced young minds? I mean really) Not only is it a heavy title to carry but I’ve always had trouble figuring out what will and won’t hold me from breakfast to lunch, morning snacks seem to always ruin my lunch. Steal cut oats leave me famished after an hour, a smoothie leaves me famished after two, possibly three if I put a date in the mix. SO after re-ready a blog I am a bit obsessed with I came to the conclusion that my breakfast must have two parts: smoothie and oats. Smoothie to start, I can’t do solids anytime north of 8:30am or else I’ll vom. ANOTHER dilhemma: one portion of oats is more than enough for me and a huge smoothie leaves my stomach feeling floatie. SO the best of both worlds, small-ish smoothie and half of a regular serving of oats. I haven’t done the calorie count or nutrition count but this is what my breakfast for the past two days has looked like.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie
1 scoop pumpkin spice protein mix- 104 calories I believe
1/4-1/2 cup of pumpkin mixed with pumpkin spices
1/2 banana
BIG handful of spinach
1/2-1 cup of almond milk
Xanthum and Guar Gum to make it nice and delish(PS, LOVE THESE)

Pumpkin Pie Oats- I won’t even ask to pardon my pumpkin breath, you’re just going to have to deal with it
1/4 cup or less of pumpkin(when I made the batch I just scooped some into the pot)
1/2 chopped banana
1/6 cup coach oats
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
drizzle of maple syrup for a touch more sweetness than the banana can give
pumpkin spices

SO what are your thoughts. The smoothie is consumed post work out around 7ish and the oats are consumed at work somewhere between 9-10a which yesterday held me to a late 1:30p lunch AND led me to be less snacky during the afternoon and when I got home.

I just realized that this would be a FANTASTIC post for my new website, so that’s where its going after I send it to you. Ok, rambling done. Have a fantastic FALL day. I was running this morning and my stride kicked in when I realized that 10 years ago around this time I fell in LOVE with running. Its the longest relationship, besides with the Lord, that I’ve been in. Good Times.

Libkies

11 Aug

Apparently my goal of downloading ALL of these WONDERFUL and droolworthy pictures is going by the wayside and the Blackberry(ahem Crackberry) is winning.  Hopefully sometime soon I’ll crack and download all of the pics from my camera or get an upgraded phone(this is the more likely option).  So here are a couple more little gems from my phone.

DA DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!! I present to you, LIBKIES!!!!!  The darker ones are Pineapple Upside Down Cake Libkies and the lighter ones are Baklava Libkies.

So, everyone has heard of Larabars, right? Well they’re amazing but they’re kind of expensive when you like to eat them every morning as pre-workout fuel(sidenote: I actually can’t stomach much when its early morning but a half of a Larabar or one Libkie will suffice for moderate to semi-intense workouts. I eat the other half when I get done) BUT at over a dollar a bar(for the carrot cake ones that I buy in bulk) that’s almost as much as my  gym membership a month.  I’ll probably always have a Larabar or two in my house at any given time but I’ve been transitioning to making my own versions.  Let’s face it, I love to experiment and I love knowing what’s going into my food so to me, its a no-brainer to make my own.  I stick to a minimalistic approach and if its not needed or doesn’t add anything nutritionally, I don’t add it.  The basics of them are dates, nuts and vanilla. The possibilities are endless and with a Costco membership and their price on dates, forgettaboutit.

Libkies that need to be made ASAP

Pineapple Pie(the true key to getting whatever I want,  my mom taught me at a young age. There’s a background story to this, but you’ll have to ask if you want to know the long version.)

German Chocolate Cake

Cherry Garcia

Pina Colada

More Baklava- I can’t get enough of this flavor

Daisey- pistachio/cherry

AND whatever else I can come up with.  Stay tuned!

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