Spaghetti Squash and Peanut Sauce

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Day 16: What’s your favorite late summer food?

Forget April — September is the cruelest month. My beloved and most favorite season is coming to an end, and I have to soak up every last bit of sun before the cold sets in. Sigh.

At least there’s late-summer and early-fall produce to comfort me… like squash! Although some smaller squash are at their prime in the height of summer, most larger and more cold-resistant squash peak in the early fall. I think my favorite transition-season squash is the oh-so-fun spaghetti squash. Although I typically serve it with a traditional tomato-based marinara, Steven recently tried it with an unlikely alternative topping: a spicy peanut sauce.

Spaghetti Squash with Peanut Sauce

This is our go-to super-simple peanut sauce. It pairs perfectly with rice noodles, soba noodles… pretty much any noodle! So I shouldn’t have been surprised that it complements spaghetti squash nicely. I simply roasted my squash for about an hour, used a fork to separate the strands, and poured on a big ol’ dollop of sauce. Mmm.

Simple Peanut Sauce
Serves 2-3

  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or chunky
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 T soy sauce
  • 1-2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sugar (optional — use only if serving with regular noodles; squash is sweet enough!)

In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients until the sauce is emulsified. That’s it!

What’s your favorite way to eat spaghetti squash?

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

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Day 15: OMG, Barack Obama is coming over because he knows you make awesome vegan food! What are you going to make?

In my most outlandish MoFo fantasy, I bake and decorate an elaborate cake fashioned to look like the GOP elephant symbol. Barack comes over and goes to town on it, a la one of those horrible first-birthday cake smash videos, to show what he thinks of the intransigent Republican congress that’s blocked his every move.

…but that would be a very un-presidential thing to do, so I opted for something a little less partisan.

According to the internet, the president once said his favorite food is broccoli. Okay then! I have my doubts about the veracity of that statement, especially since he said it to a group of elementary school children. He couldn’t very well have admitted that his favorite food was something super-duper unhealthy, right? Regardless of the truth, I decided to incorporate broccoli in my meal. I’m also assuming that Michelle is coming, and I’d want to impress her with a healthy yet delicious vegan meal. Enter quiche!

I hadn’t made a full-sized vegan quiche since Easter 2010. Needless to say, in the past five and a half years, various vegan innovations (vegovations?) have taken egg-replication into bold new frontiers. I was excited to use aquafaba in this quiche, alongside the traditional tofu base. I’m glad I did! It was so creamy and delicious. I opted to make it crustless, because I’m not a huge fan of a traditional pastry crust. Next time, though, I might have to try this hash brown crust (!) from Avocados and Ales. I topped my quiche with grated Follow Your Heart provolone, just because I had a little bit leftover and it was starting to harden. (The provolone, by the way, is surprisingly good! FYH has really stepped up their game.) It was the perfect flavor combination.

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche
Serves four

  • One medium yellow onion, sliced into half moons
  • Two small heads broccoli, chopped into small florets
  • 14 oz firm tofu (not vacuum-packed), drained
  • 1/2 cup aquafaba
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 T cornstarch
  • 1 T soy sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp kala namak (black salt)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese

Add a little oil or vegan butter to a nonstick pan and heat it on medium. Add the onions and a pinch each of sugar, salt, and baking soda. Turn the heat to low and caramelize the onions, stirring them occasionally to prevent burning. They should cook for about 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400˚ while the onions are on the stove. Prepare an 8” cake tin by oiling it liberally.

In the meantime, prepare the quiche mixture by combining the tofu, aquafaba (unwhipped), almond milk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, soy sauce and spices in a blender or food processor. Blend for at least a minute to whip up the aquafaba.

When the onions are caramelized, move them to one side of the pan and add a splash of water (about 2-3 tablespoons) to deglaze the bottom of the pan. Add the broccoli, turn the heat back up to medium, and cook it for about 5 minutes, just until it softens and turns brighter green. Remove from heat and fold into the liquid quiche mixture.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake pan and sprinkle the vegan cheese on top, if using. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Caramelized Onion and Broccoli Quiche

I’m confident that Barack, Michelle, Steven, and I would make great dinner party partners. I think we’d steer clear of politics for a while, instead talking about veganism and how healthy, environmentally friendly, and downright delicious it can be.

So, Mr. Obama, when are you coming to dinner?!

Muffins on Monday

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Day 14: Share something vegan (and delicious, duh!) with a non-vegan. 

I am infinitely fortunate to work with lots and lots of vegans. (I guess that’s what happens when you work in the animal protection field!) But not all of my coworkers are vegan or vegetarian, so I figured this prompt was the perfect opportunity to serve up some vegan treats to the masses, veg and non-veg alike. And what better time than during a Monday morning meeting?

LPS Muffins

Representatives from every section of our department attend a daily 10:00 AM meeting to discuss new and ongoing projects, so today I brought a container of mini lemon poppy seed muffins to share. I think this is one of my absolute favorite muffin flavors! I found this particular recipe on the aquafaba group Facebook page and knew I had to try it. With a whole tablespoon of baking powder and six tablespoons of aquafaba, these little muffins were super light and airy. My only complaint was the lack of lemon flavor; although they look gorgeously lemon-hued, they don’t have the characteristic tang I want in a lemony baked good. Next time I make them, I’ll add lots more lemon juice.

Everybody was so pleased at this surprise Monday-morning treat that I might have to start bringing in baked goods more often!

Kitchen Tour!

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Day 13: It’s kitchen tour time!

Steven and I consider ourselves lucky. In the notoriously expensive Montgomery County housing market, we snagged a low-priced rental when we moved here two years ago. We rent a condo, and our landlord is responsive, friendly, and fair — he hasn’t raised our rent the two times we’ve re-signed the lease. And we have a great kitchen!

Ktichen Panorama

Many of the units in our complex have a small kitchen and a small dining room, but ours has an open floor plan — you can see where the wall used to be in the photo below. We’ve got a huge island/eating area, and a massive amount of storage. See that big wall of cabinets? We have a coat closet, pantry, and all our dishes in there! And there’s Moria wondering what I’m doing.

I’ll start at the left in the panorama photo.


My favorite part of my kitchen! We got this little piece for $5 at a yard sale — what a steal. Inside is our recycling bin and some random stuff.


This radio doesn’t work, but it’s so pretty.


Steven’s mom gave me those darling aperitif glasses; they’re from her side of the family. And I love the design on the Strega bottle.


The other side of that shelf houses our spoils from Honeydukes (!) and a jar of doggie treats. I love the jar — Steven found it on the “free table” at work.


My cookbooks and my KitchenAid — two essentials! My grandfather was an avid woodworker, and he made that little bookholder. I use it as a benchmark for my cookbook collection — if it starts overflowing, it’s time to donate a few items to the free table!


To the right of the fridge is a set of shelves where we keep some pantry staples and all our coffee- and tea-making implements! There are whole beans in the red tin, and coffee from Café du Monde too. My friend gave that to us as a thank-you for watching her pup. We use a Baratza grinder (bottom left), and it’s fantastic. Between that and the Chemex, you can make a great cup of coffee. I like to use the Moka pot when I want a smaller serving.


This piece belonged to Steven’s grandfather, who was a tailor. He stored his buttons in it! Now it houses our tea collection. :)


To the right of the sink is [some of] my beloved Pyrex collection (the little blue bowl is in the drying rack!), along with more pantry staples and our knives. You can see the butcher block counters, too. I don’t love them, especially near the sink where they get wet easily. They’re fine for the island, but impractical for most everywhere else.


To the right of the sink are more dry goods, spices, a few condiments, a scale, and the radio — because you have to listen to NPR while cooking or cleaning!

There you go! A short tour of my current* kitchen. I can’t wait to see yours!

*Steven and I are house-hunting! AHH!

My Favorite Cookbook: The Homemade Vegan Pantry

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Day 12: Tell us about your favourite cookbook!

I’ve been waiting for this prompt all month just so I can rave about Miyoko Schinner’s Homemade Vegan Pantry! When the book was published and I began reading reviews, I knew I needed it on my shelf. And then, serendipitously, Steven’s mom gave it to him as a birthday gift in August! Needless to say, I quickly appropriated it for my own. (To Steven’s benefit, of course, since he reaps the rewards of my pantry staple-making!) How do I love this book? Let me count the ways.

  1. The design. This is a beautiful cookbook. The layout and photography make me salivate, and not just because all the food is so good. The homey, down-to-earth styling is a perfect fit for the topic of this book. I love the subdued color palette, too.
  2. The concept. I’ve always been enamored with the idea of a home-grown and homemade pantry. Making one’s own staples is budget-friendly, eco-friendly, and downright fun-friendly! Although not everyone might agree, I find it enormously rewarding. Miyoko takes this concept and makes it accessible, which is crucial. The vegan diet is often viewed as one of privilege, and the [arguably unnecessary] act of making one’s own staples smacks of too much empty time and too much money to spend on “weird” ingredients. But Miyoko starts with the basics and builds on them, and for the most part, her recipes don’t require expensive or “weird” ingredients. (With a few exceptions — fermented tofu liquid, I’m lookin’ at you!) She takes pains to make these recipes simple and doable, hitting back at the notion that only obsessive foodies would have the time or the inclination to make basics like soymilk and mustard.
  3. The recipes. The design and the concept would mean nothing if the recipes didn’t stand on their own. Happily, they do!

Schinner Pantry TOC

Truthfully, I’ve only skimmed the surface of the recipes. I have grand dreams of cooking my way through the book, though. And, importantly, just reading through this book has given me more confidence to try my hand at pantry staples I’ve avoided in the past. Here’s what I’ve made so far.

  • Almond Milk, p. 54 (and my own Simple Vanilla Oat Milk)
  • Unpork, p. 116
  • Classic Pancake and Biscuit Mix, p. 158
  • Biscuits from said mix (they were amazing!)
  • Sausage Spice, p. 125
  • Blueberry jam, inspired by her easy cheat method

…okay, it’s a short list. But everything has been excellent. The Unpork is incredibly easy to whip up. It’s just another take on seitan, but the pulling and stretching method gives it a stringiness reminiscent of pork. That evocative name — Unpork, very much not pork — is a great reminder of why I’m vegan. I Instagrammed this photo right after I made it.

Unpork Instagram

I met that big ol’ piggy at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary during their open house last month. A total sweetie!

The recipe yields a fair amount, so I immediately froze six big pieces. A few weeks later, I used them to make a BBQ “pulled pork” sandwich. It was so easy! I just thawed them a bit, sliced it very thin, and heated it up with some BBQ sauce. Yum yum!

BBQ Unpork

I love this cookbook so much that I’ve been known to take it to bed with me, just to flip through it before going to sleep. I’ve taken it on car rides, just to have something to look at. I can’t get enough of it! And I’m excited to start stocking my pantry with even more homemade staples.

If you have this book, what are your favorite recipes?

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

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Day 11: Focus on a nutrient

Today’s prompt was my theme for last year’s VeganMoFo! I focused on the nutrients that omnivores enjoy grilling us vegans about, like protein, calcium, and iron. I’ve got a lot of great, nutrient-rich recipes in that tag, so you should check ’em out!

So given my near-expertise (heh) in matters of vegan nutrition, would it surprise you that I’m sharing a cookie recipe today? It shouldn’t! As I learned last year when I investigated protein and where to get it, my conclusion was that protein is in lots of unexpected places. Like cookies. Especially cookies made with chickpeas and tahini! Enter these dreamy soft-batch Tahini Snickerdoodles. With 4 grams of protein per cookie, they’re a modest but not insubstantial source of natural protein. Each cookie also contains 2 grams of fiber, and since the RDV is 15 grams, you can fulfill nearly 1/3 your daily requirement just by eating two cookies! :D

If you’re worried about putting chickpeas in cookies, here’s what Steven said when I told him about this unexpected ingredient: “Really?! Holy sh*t! You can’t taste it at all!” And Steven is quite discriminating when it comes to “healthy” ingredients in desserts.

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles

Soft-Batch Tahini Snickerdoodles
Makes 16 cookies

  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, shelled/skinned if you’re so inclined (save the liquid!)
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 aquafaba (chickpea liquid), whisked briskly for 30 seconds or shaken in an airtight jar for 10 seconds
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 2 T melted coconut oil
  • 2 T brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 T ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt

For rolling

  • 1 1/2 T white or turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 T ground cinnamon
  • 1 T sesame seeds, white or black

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Prepare a cookie pan by oiling it or lining it with parchment paper.

Using a blender, combine the chickpeas, tahini, aquafaba, liquid sweetener, coconut oil, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Blend for about 30 seconds or until everything is smooth.

Add the remaining dry ingredients (excluding the rolling sugar) to a mixing bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the wet ingredients and use a wooden spoon or plastic spatula to mix. The dough will be very thick, so use that elbow grease to get it all incorporated.

Next, stir the rolling sugar mixture together in a small bowl. Use your hands to roll 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoon balls of dough, then roll them in the sugar. Flatten them slightly and place them on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes and allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating.


  • I’ve become a chickpea-skinning convert. It makes hummus SO much creamier, since the chickpeas are more easily blended without those pesky skins. So now I always skin my chickpeas. It takes a few extra minutes, but it’s an oddly satisfying feeling to have those little skins slip right off in your fingers.
  • Aquafaba! Have you tried it? It’s probably not strictly necessary in this recipe, but it provides a great texture.
  • These are not particularly sweet cookies, so if you have a bigger sweet tooth than I do, add a few tablespoons more brown sugar.

Something Blue: Vintage Pyrex

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Day 10: Something blue

Ugh! These last few prompts have made me grumpy, especially this one. Blueberries are the obvious choice, but nobody’s going to want to post about them, and we’re all going to try to come up with something super unique. SIGH.

Well, I guess I’m no different, because I didn’t want to share a blueberry recipe either! When I think about the color blue in the context of my kitchen, I immediately think of Pyrex. I’m a lover of vintage Pyrex in general, but my two favorite pieces just happen to be blue! The first is this absolutely beautiful turquoise butterprint mixing bowl.

Butterprint Pyrex

Butterprint is my favorite pattern, and that turquoise is such a sweet shade! I’ve seriously considered getting that butterprint rooster as a tattoo. Not sure if I’d do it in turquoise, though.

My second-favorite piece of Pyrex is this simple blue bowl, the smallest of the four pieces in the primary color mixing bowl set.

Blue Small Pyrex

I guess I’m a sucker for blue, because this shade just melts my heart! It’s so warm and peaceful. And I love how the blue fades into that beautiful almost translucent milk glass. This is my favorite bowl to use for snacks or noodles or, well, anything! I’m 100% in favor of using my Pyrex regularly, not letting it languish on the shelf. In fact, I keep my Pyrex bowls on display, but there are usually a couple of bowls missing because they’re in the drying rack!

Finally, this Pyrex-inspired print from Pocono Modern is my favorite piece of kitchen art. And it just happens to have a blue background!

Pyrex Art

Yay for blue!