Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bites!

Hey veggie heads,

WOW. It’s been two weeks since I posted something on here (I’ve been more active on Instagram), and that’s mainly because the first few weeks of my last semester of grad school have been hectic, to say the least. Besides all of my classes (which are PERFECT), I’m the Editor-in-Chief of a campus magazine, 360 Magazine, which focuses on all aspects of culture (food, entertainment, technology, politics, etc.). I also recently accepted a position as a Research Assistant, so yeah…things have been busy.

BUT, I’m here, I’m writing, and I have a quick recipe for you. I’m always trying to find ways to eat something super quick in the morning before I drive to school. Usually, I end up caving and just eating a quick frozen waffle or maybe I grab something at the vegan place near campus if I’m feeling fancy, but lately I’ve been feeling like I should be more proactive and just prepare something quick and easy in advance, which has led me to….breakfast bites!

Now, I literally just made this recipe up an hour and a half ago, so if it sucks…well, you live and you learn. You’re going to need rolled oats, natural peanut butter, semi-sweet chocolate chips, agave nectar, vanilla extract, and craisins.

I decided to melt my peanut butter and chocolate, because I thought it would make mixing everything together easier (I was mostly right…I ended up putting another 1/4 c of unmelted peanut butter in after I’d mixed most of my ingredients together).

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Here’s a tip: make sure you stock up on staples like agave so you don’t use all of your current supply on an improvised no-bake recipe.

Once you mix all of your wet ingredients into your oats, chop up the craisins, or whatever extra thing you want to add to your bites. I’d suggest chopped nuts, toasted coconut, or even mini chocolate chips to add some nice texture to the bites…I just happened to have a bunch of craisins and none of those other things I suggested, so….craisins.

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Did I expect to be finely chopping craisins on a Sunday night? NO. 

After you mix the craisins into everything else, you’re going to roll the mixture into little balls, about 1-1.5 inches in diameter (I think…honestly, I didn’t whip out a ruler and measure all of the bites, but 1-1.5 sounds pretty good so…). Pop ’em in the freezer for an hour, and then you’ve got yourself some tasty lil breakfast bites!

And there you have it! Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bites (with craisins)! Keep on reading for the full recipe.

(Disclaimer: some of these ingredients weren’t so much measured as they were just thrown into the bowl haphazardly, but I did my best to record everything as I went along…feel free to experiment more with this and let me know what you come up with!)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bites

Yields approx. 21 bites

2 c. dry rolled oats
1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 c. natural creamy peanut butter (only melt 1/4 c.)
1-3 T. agave (depending on how sweet you want it)
1/3 c. craisins, chopped
splash of vanilla extract
Optional: chopped nuts, toasted coconut, mini chocolate chips

1. Pour your oats into a large mixing bowl. Melt 1/4 cup of peanut butter in the microwave and drizzle onto the oats. Mix together with a spoon (or your hands…hands are more fun).
2. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave (I do it in 20-30 second increments so they don’t burn). Drizzle onto oats and peanut butter mixture and mix.
3. Drizzle agave onto the mixture, and then add your splash of vanilla extract. Be as liberal or as conservative as you want with your vanilla–I like to add more, personally, but you do you. Be yourself.
4. Chop up the craisins. I chopped mine up a bit smaller, just because I didn’t want there to be super huge chunks of craisins in my bites. Add the craisins (and any other extra bits you want in your bites) to the mixture.
5. Roll the dough into small balls (approx. 1-1.5 inches) and place on a cookie sheet. Once they’re all rolled out, put them in the freezer and let them set for 1 hour.
6. Enjoy!

NOTE: I’m going to keep storing mine in the freezer, because I get the feeling they’ll be really tasty cold, and they’ll also stick together better if they’re frozen. It’ll also make it easier for taking them to-go!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe! I had a lot of fun throwing it together.

Have a great week!

~ TVM

TVP & Black Bean Tacos

Hey veggie heads!

After a very busy last first week of grad school classes, I’m coming back atcha with a new recipe for TVP & black bean tacos!

Now, I love tacos–I always have, and I always will–but I’m always struggling to find a really good vegan taco recipe. I’ve used vegan sausage, TVP by itself, you name it…but I was never reeeeeally 100% satisfied with the results. Sure, those tacos were always delicious in their own right, but I knew I needed to experiment some more to get the ~perfect~ vegan taco.

And, dear veggie heads, I think I may be onto something with this recipe…but you’ll all have to try it out and let me know if I’m right or not! I made these for my boyfriend and our friend, Alex, who was visiting us last weekend, both of whom are born and bred meat-eaters and L O V E D these tacos.

So, first things first…ingredients. You’re going to need olive oil, vegetable bouillon (or veggie broth), textured vegetable protein chunks (TVP for short), one can of black beans, an onion, three cloves of garlic, chili powder, taco sauce (I use mild because I am weak), and whatever other taco fixings you normally use. I like to top my tacos with finely chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and a little bit of sriracha, but, like I said, you have total freedom when it comes to topping your tacos.

Now normally, I mix salsa in with my taco filling, but I decided not to do that this time…I think it adds too much moisture, which really stops whatever you’re using as filling from browning quickly, be it TVP or some kind of store-bought meat substitute.

The first thing you’re going to need to do is cook up the TVP. Now, I cooked mine in water with a dissolved vegetable bouillon cube in it, but you could also just use vegetable broth if you can’t find bouillon cubes that don’t have meat stock in them. I like to cook my TVP in something besides plain water because it gives it a richer, saltier flavor before you even transfer it to the pan.

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Freshly cooked TVP!

Next, it’s time to chop up your onions and garlic. I used my fun food chopper that I’ve referenced in previous recipes, because 1. I hate chopping onions because they make me cry like a baby, and 2. I just really love having perfectly square diced onions. After everything’s chopped, sauté the onions in a cast iron pan until they start to look translucent, and then add the garlic. Make sure to add your cooked TVP before things start to brown too quickly.

After about a minute or two of mixing the TVP with the onions and garlic, I dumped my drained black beans in and stirred everything around until everything was evenly mixed together. Next, I sprinkled the chili powder over everything and drizzled some taco sauce on top of the filling and mixed that around really well. I didn’t exactly measure how much taco sauce I used, but you can be as liberal or as conservative with your sauce drizzling as you want (it all depends on how spicy you want the filling to be).

While you’re waiting for the filling to brown on one side, you should start getting your taco shells ready. You can certainly use whatever kind of shells you want to, but I prefer soft shells. Either way, heat them up in the oven so they’re nice and warm when the filling is all done.

You’re going to want to flip the filling around in the pan a bit so it’s browning evenly. This won’t be a very crumbly taco filling, but bits of it will get nicely browned and it’ll taste great no matter what. Once it’s all done (approx 5-10 minutes), you can serve up your tacos! We enjoyed ours with a nice Ballast Point grapefruit sculpin–it was great!

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I hope some of you try this recipe out! If you do, please send me some pictures and feedback, either on here, Facebook, or Instagram.

TVP & Black Bean Tacos

Serves 3-5

2 cups textured vegetable protein (TVP)
2 cups water
1 vegetable bouillon cube (alternatively, use 2 cups veggie broth and forego the bouillon)
1 small can black beans, drained and rinsed
2-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (you can add more if you want more spice)
2-4 tablespoons taco sauce (spicy level is your choice)
Taco shells (soft or hard)

Optional toppings:
Finely chopped lettuce
Fresh tomato
Hot sauce/sriracha

1. Boil the two cups water in a medium saucepan. Add the bouillon cube and stir till it dissolves. If you’re using veggie broth, just bring the broth to a boil.
2. Once the water is boiling, add the TVP and stir until all the liquid is absorbed into the chunks. Cover, turn off the heat, and set aside.
3. Heat up the olive oil in a large cast iron pan. Add the diced onions and sauté until translucent, then add the garlic.
4. Mix the TVP in with the onions and garlic and let sauté for a minute or two, stirring frequently. Add the drained and rinsed black beans and mix well.
5. Drizzle taco sauce over the filling and mix well. Let the filling brown on one side before flipping and mixing it around so it cooks evenly.
6. While the filling is cooking, heat up the taco shells in the oven.
7. Prep your toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, etc.).
8. Once the filling is cooked evenly (it won’t be too crumbly, but it’ll be darker), turn the heat off and serve your tacos!

Enjoy!

~TVM~

 

An Improvised Tofu Marinade

Hey veggie heads!

Sorry I’ve been absent for a few days–my boyfriend and I were both fighting off a really nasty cold and illness usually does not inspire much cooking, besides making miso soup and ramen or frozen waffles. BUT, I managed to pull myself together enough a few days ago to make a quick and easy dinner…rice & veggies with marinated tofu.

Let’s get started!

First, you’re going to need a pound of extra firm tofu. As I’ve said before, I prefer the Nasoya tofu, but you can use whatever brand you prefer! I actually didn’t drain out my tofu on a paper towel like I normally do, because this was a very improvised dinner, but I still definitely recommend doing that when you’re preparing this.

I cubed my tofu up with this cool cubing thingy that gives you PERFECT cubes of all shapes and sizes, and it’s honestly a dream come true because I HATE cubing tofu by hand…they’re never the same size!!! Okay…back to the recipe.

 

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Note: I just made basmati rice cooked with frozen mixed veggies to go with the tofu, but you can literally have this tofu with whatever you want!

SO, now that you have your tofu cut up how you want it, it’s time to get to the marinade! You’re going to need the following ingredients: fresh garlic, nutritional yeast (bless up), tamari or soy sauce, brown sugar, olive oil, and rice vinegar.

I mixed the olive oil and the tamari together, and then crushed the garlic directly into it. Then, I added the yeast, brown sugar, and a hefty splash of rice vinegar. I like using vinegar in my marinades because it gives it a nice tangy taste, which goes really well with the brown sugar. Also, obviously I used nutritional yeast because it is tofu’s BEST FRIEND.

Whisk everything together with a fork (or a whisk, lol), and pour it over the tofu.

Now normally, you’d want to let everything sit for at least 10-15 minutes (you can go longer, and I highly recommend that if you’ve cut your tofu up larger than I did, or if you cut it in strips of some kind), but because I am lazy and I was very hungry, I just mixed everything together and put it right in my heated pan. I didn’t oil the pan, because there’s already olive oil in the marinade.

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Okay. I have to be honest with all of you for a second…initially, I only chopped up half a pound of tofu, but I definitely made enough marinade for at least a whole pound (you could probably even use a pound and a half, maybe even two…or just don’t impulsively pour all of the marinade on your tofu and save some for later…learn from my mistakes). I realized this when I poured the tofu into my pan and saw that there was just like, a pool of marinade surrounding my lil cubes. Soooo, I added some more tofu, and that helped a lot. I did have to siphon off some of the marinade so things would fry up quicker, but again, that was my bad. Learn from my mistakes, veggie heads.

I let things crisp up for about 10 minutes, occasionally flipping the tofu around so it would get evenly crispy. Little crumbly bits of tofu ended up breaking off and turning into really awesome crispies that just…ugh. So good. When everything looks nicely browned, turn off the heat and serve with whatever the heck you want! It goes great with rice and veggies (what we had), but this would also be a great side dish with pasta, salad, etc. Actually, this would probably be delicious on top of a salad! Food for thought, haha…get it??? Food?? For thought??? Ha.

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THE FINAL PRODUCT. 

Well, that’s it! As usual, I’ll be putting the recipe down below. Keep an eye out for my next recipe, which should be up later this weekend….TVP Tacos!!

Tofu Marinade

1/4 c olive oil
3 T tamari or soy sauce
1 t nutritional yeast
1 t brown sugar
4 small cloves or 2 large cloves of garlic, minced
A hefty splash of rice vinegar (approx 1/2-1 T)
1 pound extra firm tofu, cubed

1. Whisk together olive oil and tamari. Add the minced garlic and mix.
2. Add the nutritional yeast and stir. Then, add the brown sugar and stir it all together.
3. Pour in the rice vinegar and stir.
4. Pour marinade over top the tofu, and let sit for 10-30 minutes (or longer if you have bigger pieces of tofu).
5. Heat up your pan. Add the tofu once it’s hot and stir around so everything evenly dispersed across the pan.
6. Let the tofu sauté for about 3-5 minutes before flipping it to evenly cook everything. Repeat this step until the tofu is nice and crispy!
7. Serve and enjoy!

Scrambled Tofu: A Family Recipe

Hey veggie heads!

I’m currently nursing a very sudden and annoying cold at my friends’ place in Troy, NY, but a little sinus trouble isn’t going to stop me from sharing my first recipe with you! After thinking a lot about what would the best thing to start all of this off, I decided on one of my favorite breakfast dishes: scrambled tofu.

This recipe has been adapted and tweaked by my mom, my siblings, and myself over years and years of eating, and though I know it’ll probably evolve even more as I continue to grow as a cook, I think that where it is right now, as a dish, is nearly perfect.

Let’s get started!

First off, you’re going to need some fresh 2 death ingredients.

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Fresh ass ingredients, what’s gooooood?

You’re going to need olive oil (I’ve recently fallen in love with this organic olive oil spray I found at my local Price Chopper), salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, tamari (or soy sauce), nutritional yeast, and…of course…tofu. I like to use Nasoya Extra Firm Tofu, drained on a paper towel so it fries up really nicely. You’re also going to need a pan of some kind. I prefer to use my big cast iron pan, because, if I can be real for a second, I don’t fucks with anything else when it comes to cooking. You can also use a wok, which actually helps you achieve some truly awesome crispiness in the end.

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My baby!!!

The next step is oiling your pan (approx 1Tbsp of oil will do, or a nice coating if you’re using a spray), heating it up, and then breaking the tofu into chunks right onto the pan before mashing it up with a fork.

Next, it’s time to add your ingredients. By the way, I’m going to put the full recipe below so you can get all of the measurements correct when you make this for your breakfast tomorrow morning!

The first things I like to add are the tamari, salt, and ground pepper (if I’m using it…I actually totally forgot to put it in when I made this earlier today). Next, I try to sprinkle the garlic powder and turmeric as evenly as possible over the mashed tofu so it’s dispersed nicely. Make sure you’re mixing everything together in the pan so it doesn’t start to stick before you’re all done adding the ingredients! (PS: an alternative to cooking it directly in the pan is just mashing the tofu in a bowl and adding all the ingredients [including the olive oil] and then adding it all to a heated pan…I’m just lazy)

The next ingredient is probably the most important thing in this entire recipe…NUTRITIONAL YEAST. Nutritional yeast and tofu are honestly soulmates or something, because the yeast just makes tofu get so dang crispy and delicious…ugh. Amazing.

The recipe technically calls for a tablespoon of yeast, but let’s be real…you can definitely make that a heaping scoop if you’re a savage like me.

So by now, you’ve mixed all of your delicious ingredients together and things should be getting crispier and crispier. I like to let it sit for a few minutes to really crisp up one side before I take my handy-dandy spatula to it. All in all, the cooking time for this recipe shouldn’t be more than 10-20 minutes.

While you’re crisping up your scrambled tofu, pop some toast/English muffins/bagels/whatever the heck you want in the toaster so you have something to go with your fancy vegan breakfast. This morning, my well-fed boyfriend and I had some classic Freihofer’s whole wheat toast with Earth Balance margarine to accompany our tofu.

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Thanks for the new toaster, Mom!

By now, you should have a hot, balanced breakfast all ready for ya. As usual, Sam (aka my well-fed boyfriend) and I both enjoyed a cup of Iron Coffee (s/o to our friend Mike Milliron’s delicious and perfect roasted coffee, he’s amazing, buy his coffee and go to his shop in Hoosick Falls).

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FOLLOW @ironcoffeeco ON INSTAGRAM AND TWITTER!!!!

Okay, now that you’ve suffered through my rambling description of how to make scrambled tofu, here’s the actual recipe. Enjoy!

Scrambled Tofu
Serves: 2-4 (depending on how hearty your appetite is)

1 pound extra firm tofu
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garlic powder
heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
salt & pepper to taste
Optional: frozen or fresh mixed veggies (when I use veggies, I like to do half a package of mixed veggies…corn, string beans, carrots, peas…you get it)

1. Open up the tofu and pour the water out. Put the block on a few paper towels and let it drain for as long as you want–the more drained it is, the quicker it’ll fry up.
2. Start to break the tofu into chunks and put them into your frying pan. Take a fork (or a potato masher!) and start to mash it up into as big or small chunks as your heart desires. You can turn the heat on at this point, and add the olive oil once your tofu is mostly mashed. Make sure to mix it all together so the oil is coating all of the tofu.
3. Add the tamari and mix well. Then, add the garlic powder and turmeric and…you guessed it…mix well. If you’re adding vegetables, you should put them in around now so they have time to cook.
4. After things have started to cook a bit and the tofu is clearly turning yellow (thanks, turmeric!) sprinkle your heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast over everything and mix it UP.
5. Let everything get crispy on one side for about 2-4 minutes and then start to mix everything with your spatula. Repeat until you’re satisfied with how crispy your tofu is.
6. Serve with whatever the heck you want! This makes for a great breakfast sandwich, no matter what kind of bread/bagel/etc you’re using!
7. Enjoy!

Well, I hope you all enjoy this recipe! Follow me on Instagram for more food pics and updates!

XOXO,

TVM

 

An Introduction

Hey veggie heads (that’s what I’ll be calling you…whoever you are)!

My name is Sarah, but from here on out, I’ll be signing off as The Vegan Millennial (maybe TVM? VM? This is a work in progress, hush).

Just to get all of the “boring” stuff out of the way, I’ll give you a quick biography:

I’m a 22yo graduate student at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, working towards a Master’s in Magazine, Newspaper, & Online Journalism. For as long as I can remember, reading and writing have been my truly constant passions–I was raised by a very bibliophilic family, so it was nearly impossible for me to grow up without a love for the written word. This, along with a wish to create social change through writing, led me to where I am today: Newhouse. The program I’m in only lasts one year, so a lot has changed for me in the six months I’ve been studying there.

Now, on to the vegan stuff. I was raised vegan, which is a little factoid about myself that generally elicits a wide range of responses from the people I meet (“Did you have a lot of health problems as a kid?” “Are you serious?” “That’s pretty cool.” “Ok, but how did you get like…nutrients and stuff??”) I was always the kid who brought her lunch to school, and sometimes other kids would make fun of it or tell me it looked gross, which was pretty funny because they were usually eating the school lunches, i.e. cardboard covered in tomato sauce and congealed cheese or overcooked, flavorless frozen vegetables served with sawdust mashed potatoes…but, I digress.

I grew up perfectly healthy, and, thanks to my amazing mother, I discovered a love for cooking at a young age. Some of my fondest memories are of working with my mom in the kitchen–baking cookies and cakes, learning how to bake bread, watching her experiment with old recipes to create delicious, out-of-this-world vegan dishes–and I carry those memories with me as a young vegan millennial just trying to get through grad school without starving.

All of this brings me to this…The Vegan Millennial. I’m currently on break from school, which will tragically be ending in less than two weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of experimentation in the kitchen, much to the delight of my wonderful boyfriend, Sam (and sometimes to the delight of our two cats, Misty and Maya, who really love baked goods).

I was talking to my fabulous mother early this morning about a vegan cheesecake I made in a baking frenzy yesterday (recipe courtesy of Amy in the Kitchen) and she said something that made me stop and think for a moment: “You’re on the road to becoming a great vegan baker.” This really got me thinking, about my aspirations as a journalist, as a blogger, as a cook, etc., and I decided that it might be time to start combining two of my great loves–writing and vegan cooking. This decision led me to WordPress, which led me to a day full of building a site and annoying all of my friends for help coming up with a blog name, which, as you can tell, led me right HERE.

So, here’s the plan. I’m going to start compiling all of my favorite recipes, be they made-up, adaptations, or just some old favorites, and I’m going to document how I cook them right here on The Vegan Millennial. I’m also going to try to keep a daily/weekly/whenever-the-heck-I-want-to-post blog, just in case there’s anyone out there who’s interested in what I have to say.

Here’s hoping this all works out!

XOXO,

TVM (The Vegan Millennial)