Day:14: Leftovers, vegan pizza, and lots of fun!

We chalked up a W for thanksgiving (my football team and our cooking).  It does not matter if you are vegan or an extreme carnivore, the day after thanksgiving is characterized by a smorgasbord of leftovers!

Shelby spent the night and I woke her and Danielle up to the sound of the Vitamix blender roaring at full throttle.  This is a great way to get everyone up and going in the morning!  However I might have woken some of the neighbors up as well.  Heck, everyone deserves to get an early start to the day!

So after a delicious smoothie we were off to the beach.  The waves were pretty good as they were the day before.  I would call it about 6 to 8 foot at Blacks Beach with some 10 foot clean up sets.

Image

Blacks Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! It also happens to be one of the best beach breaks in the world.  The only catch is you have to walk down a very steep cliff for 20 minutes to get there.  They also have a road for the cautious which is also very steep.  After walking down, surfing, and then walking back up, we were all pretty hungry.

Image

We decided to go to our friend Kevin’s restaurant in La Jolla.  It’s called Extreme Pizza.  We had the Pandoras box.  It has spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, garlic, fresh basil, oregano and mozzarella (tomato sauce upon request, no charge).  We substituted soy cheese for the feta and mozzarella and added tomato sauce and it was the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!  Better than all of the pizzas that I have had with regular cheese on them.  All of the ingredients tasted so fresh and powerful.  If your in La Jolla check it out- LaJolla.extremepizza.com

Kevin has an aeroponics system on his patio that grows a lot of the vegetables that he uses as ingredients on his pizzas.

For all of you that have never seen an aeroponic systems before, check it out…

Image

It is like hydroponics but instead of having a tray that the plants sit in and the water and nutrients ebb and flows, the plants are planted up the tower and their roots are all growing down the center cylinder.  A pump then brings the water and nutrients up from the reservoir to the top of the tower and drips it down on the roots.  It can be operated nearly maintenance free with timers.  All you have to do is add water and nutrients. Very cool.  It is a great way to conserve space as well.

We were excited about dinner all day.  We knew we had a lot of yummy leftovers to work with.  Danielle pan fried some toast with a little olive oil.  Then she heated up the potatoes, carrots, onions, and turkey-less roast, and put it over the toast.  Finally she poured the heated up gravy over it all for a fantastic, southern style, open-faced sandwich.  My mouth is watering right now just thinking about it.  I bet yours is too! We gobbled it down with out saving room for desert, but then we ate pumpkin pie.

I know that Danielle already talked about the pumpkin pie.  However, words can not do this recipe justice.  I love pie!  I would put money on the fact that anybody who knows their pie and tried some of this pie would fall in love.  Imagine regular pumpkin pie, only with way more significant flavors.  We talked earlier about how ginger helps the assimilation of nutrients in our bodies.  It also is believed in Ayurvedic circles that it creates a strong synergy with all the nutrients it is combined with.  In other words it makes the nutrients work together to create something bigger than themselves.  I think it also creates a synergy of ingredients and the way that they taste.   I could taste each ingredient as I euphorically dissected the flavors of this amazing new pumpkin pie.  Each so distinct and rich.  Thank you Danielle!  You shall forever cook our pies!  I am a happy man!  Chalk up another W!

Day 13: OUR VERY FIRST MEAT-LESS AND NON DAIRY THANKSGIVING!

Wow! I don’t even know where to start! This was our very first Thanksgiving being away from family in Virginia Beach. We woke up and counted our blessings. So thankful for many things. God has been beyond amazing to us this year. It was a great day and we made the most out of it! It began with volunteering at our church in San Diego, Horizon, with the homeless people. It was an amazing experience. Being with the needy on Thanksgiving is a tradition for us now and we really felt great helping others. 

After church, we came home and I began cooking up our Thanksgiving meal. Turkey-less roast from Trader Joes. It was the most interesting looking thing I have ever seen! Here is the box..

Image

 

I am not going to lie, Travis and I felt very nervous about this, but we wanted to try it out! We are all about being open minded… so we bought it! I cut up carrots, potatoes, and celery and through some seasonings in with it and this is what it looked like before going into the oven…

Image

 

I put it in the oven for 60 minutes and then began making the CLEAN GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE. Wow! I found this website at: 

http://detoxinista.com/2012/11/clean-green-bean-casserole-vegan-paleo/

Let me tell you… it was unbelievable how long the process took to make it ( I am so use to making the processed, bad for you, green bean casserole out cans and throwing it in the oven )… this bad boy took me about 45 minutes to just prepare to be put into the oven, but let me tell you, it was worth it!!!! Here is the recipe:

Image

 

Clean Green Bean Casserole (Vegan, Paleo)
Author: Detoxinista.com
Prep time:  1 hour
Cook time:  30 mins
Total time:  1 hour 30 mins 
Serves: 9-12
 Featuring fresh green beans and caramelized onions, this homemade green bean casserole is just about as clean as it gets. Rather than relying on a cream-based soup, it’s held together by a creamy puree of parsnips and mushrooms! The caramelized onion topping still delivers the buttery onion flavor that we all love, without the deep-fried grease and flour to go along with it. All of our favorite flavors covered, without the heavy food-coma to follow!
Ingredients
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil, or butter
  • 2 cups parsnips, chopped
  • 10 oz. mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 lb. fresh green beans
Instructions
  1. Melt a pat of coconut oil, or butter, in a large skillet and add the sliced onions. Saute gently over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelized. Use a splash of water, as needed, to prevent sticking. Once the onions are tender and golden in color, remove from heat and set aside in a bowl for later.
  2. While the onions are cooking, you’ll have plenty of time to steam the parsnips. Fit a steamer basket into a saucepan, and fill with one inch of water. Add the 2 cups of chopped parsnips, and bring the water to boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, steaming for about 8 minutes, or until the parsnips are easily pierced with a fork. Transfer the steamed parsnips to your blender container, and set it aside.
  3. Using the same steamer basket and saucepan, break the pound of fresh green beans into one-inch pieces, and toss them into the steamer basket. Bring to a boil, then cover and steam for 6-8 minutes, until the green beans are bright green with a bit of crunch. Transfer the cooked green beans to an 8″ x 8″ glass baking dish.
  4. *Note: At this point, cook the green beans to be as tender as you like– if you prefer them softer, steam them longer. The baking process later will not make them any more tender, so this is your chance to achieve the texture you like.
  5. Once the onions have finished caramelizing, you can use the same pan to saute the mushrooms and garlic. Melt another pat of coconut oil or butter, and saute the garlic for about 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for about 6 minutes, until liquid is released from the mushrooms.
  6. Spread half of the mushroom mixture into the baking dish of green beans, and pour the other half of the mixture, along with any liquid, into the blender container with the steamed parsnips.
  7. Into that blender container, add 1½ cups water, 1½ teaspoons sea salt and ¼ cup of nutritional yeast to the cooked parsnips and mushrooms. Blend until smooth and creamy. (This mixture may be a bit salty to taste at this point, but keep in mind that it will be diluted when it’s poured over a pound of green beans!)
  8. Pour the creamy sauce over the green beans and mushrooms in the glass baking dish, and stir to coat well. (You may very well have more sauce than you need for this recipe– I only used about 1½ cups to coat the vegetables well. Save the rest for a future dish!)
  9. Smooth the creamy vegetable mixture with a spatula, and top with the caramelized onions to finish.
  10. *At this point, you could cover the dish and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to heat and serve.
  11. When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350F and bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, until bubbly. Serve warm and enjoy!

I followed everything word for word in this recipe, except I cut it in half because it was just Travis, me, and our friend Shelby. It ended up being wonderful! I highly suggest it! It is so fresh tasting and everything in it that I used was organic and fresh out of the garden this week! Amazing stuff! The nutritional yeast really made it creamy and it made me feel satisfied all the way. 

Here is the table before we ate…

Image

 

Image

 

Image

 

Shelby, our friend, came over for dinner and was a bit scared ( just like we were ) to try a full Vegan meal for Thanksgiving. WE ALL LOVED IT! I couldn’t believe how good it was.The gravy was exquisite! I am a huge homemade gravy gal, I need to figure out how to make it homemade. It came in the Trader Joe’s set. Not only was it flavorful, but it was HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS! I am the first to tell if something did not turn out well. I must say, I am still in complete shock about it all. We were just super excited…

Then it was time for PUMPKIN PIE…

I found the recipe from here: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/desertrecipes/r/tofupumpkinpie.htm

THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST PUMPKIN PIE WE HAVE EVER HAD!! I switched a few things up because it was suggested in one of the reviews… it turned out perfect!!! Here it is…

Image

 

FABULOUS Vegan Pumpkin Pie:

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound silken (soft) tofu
  • 1 16 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 pre-made pie crust

Preparation:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients, except for pie crust, in a food process or blender and process until smooth. Pour into pie crust.

Bake for one hour.

Chill before serving and top with whipped cream or non-dairy whipped cream if desired.

This is what I changed: I added 2 tbps of honey and used firm tofu drained. I also used a total of 30 oz of plain organic pumpkin in the can. The honey gave it just enough kick to remove the soy after taste. I also added two tbsp of cornstarch to the mix. I placed all of my ingredients into my blender on liquify to make it completely smooth. 

 

TRAVIS WAS SO SHOKED! This is his favorite pie, this time of year. He gives it 5 stars! I highly suggest trying it out : )

We had a great Thanksgiving, missed family and friends back home so so much, but it will be one we remember forever… a Thanksgiving made of compassion, love, and a VEGAN meal : )