Specialty Produce in San Diego

Specialty Produce Fresh Foods

Fresh Items From Specialty Produce

Specialty Produce Is The Bomb Baby!

We love Specialty Produce. It’s like our 2nd home. And I’m gonna tell you why. But, first… What can I say? It’s been a while since I wrote a post. My music project has kept me busy. If you wanna check that out (which I would appreciate) please visit: funkcatbrown.com

San Diego Farmers Market Items

Farmers market items

So, now on with my love of Specialty Produce. First of all, they are open like every single day. Holidays and everything. I think the only holiday they close for is Christmas?? But, what really rocks about this place is the freshness and variety of foods they have. I mean the list is endless! They normally sell to restaurants. It’s basically a wholesale restaurant supply place, but they allow the public to shop there. It has ruined going to a regular grocery store for us. They have seasonal items, they have organic fruits and vegetables. They sell locally grown farmer’s market produce. They have things you will not find anywhere else. They have more than just produce!! They have nuts, and beans, and sauces and olives, and chilies, and oils, and Sriracha, and pastas, and grains, and rices, gourmet items, herbs, and more!

Romanesca San Diego

Romanesca

But, I’m just getting started here. The deal is that they have the freshest, choicest, and highest quality stuff. Have you ever been to the grocery store and a lot of the produce seemed like maybe it had sat in the back for a while or maybe had been on display for a little too long? Or maybe it was parked in a truck for a week? Never a problem at Specialty Produce. Since they serve restaurants primarily, the turnover of their product is high and that means you are getting the very freshest of produce. Fresher than a grocery store for sure. In fact when we do get stuff from a regular grocer now we are almost always disappointed with the quality. For example, the lettuce we get there is so fresh it lasts for a couple of weeks in our fridge without even putting in the produce/crisper drawer. Their avocados are really the best I’ve had and are always the perfect ripeness. And I could go on and on about how perfectly fresh all of their food is.

Figs in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Figs in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Variety? Check. They got it. Have you ever gone to like 3 or 4 stores looking for that one thing that might be in season? Not a problem here. They have so much variety it can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. So, they have what’s in season, but one of the things I like is being able to get stuff the normal stores don’t carry if it’s not in season. I can always get watermelon and berries year-round at Specialty, for example. Need a case of bananas? They got it. Or a case of honeydew melons. Covered. I wish I could list everything they have here. But, hey… they’ve already done it. Over on their website is a list of everything they have in stock. Ridiculous. Want purple potatoes? Got it covered.

Heirloom Tomatoes at Specialty Produce

Heirloom Tomatoes at Specialty Produce

And prices!! Have you ever been to Whole Foods and bought an heirloom tomato and a Portobello mushroom and it was like $20? Not here. Their prices are amazing. We save so much money by shopping at this spot. No coupons necessary. And the staff is extremely helpful and knowledgeable and friendly. Props to the staff! We love them. They are the best of the best and I just cannot say enough about how awesome they have been. You get to know them and it’s nice shopping some place where you feel like family.

Black Garlic in San Diego

Black Garlic in San Diego

Another added benefit is that since they don’t carry all that junk and crap that regular grocery stores do, we aren’t tempted as much to buy processed foods that are bad for us. And another cool thing is that if you want to taste something before you buy it, you can. Recently, I wanted to make sure some new Sumo oranges were as good as they looked, so I peeled one and split it with Mrs. McFly and of course they were so awesome we bought some. Hey, don’t go there expecting a free lunch. I mean be reasonable. But, if you need to taste before you buy, just know that you can do so within reason.

Chili peppers in San Diego at Specialty Produce

Chili peppers in San Diego at Specialty Produce

They even have this badass Specialty Produce App you can download for free for Android or Apple (you can see this stuff on their website, too) that will tell you what’s in season, what they have that’s new, and will give you details about food items that you never even knew about or maybe want to learn about. It will even tell you which restaurants in the San Diego area are using that food item and give you recipe ideas and show where it’s been spotted by other app users on a map of the world! Mind blowing stuff. I have learned so much about food since going to Specialty Produce and here I thought I was a foodie!

Watermelon in San Diego year-round.

Watermelon in San Diego year-round.

What a gift we have here in San Diego and we do not take it for granted. If you want to expand your culinary horizons or are looking for new things to try or hard to find vegetables or fruits or if you need special herbs or tons of something or just want to save money, then go to Specialty Produce and enjoy what they have to offer. It still amazes me that a place like this is open to the public and we are ever so grateful to them for all that they offer the community. If you go there be sure to tell them Funkinutt sent you.

Mushrooms in San Diego wholesale

Mushrooms in San Diego wholesale

And to give credit where credit is due: A special shout out to Rawvana. She is the one who turned us on to Specialty Produce and she was very helpful to us when we were raw for a while. Much love for a sweet spirit. Check out her blog if you get a minute. We have in turn tried to tell as many of our vegan friends about it to pay it forward. Wonderful. Nothing but wonderful. Hey, if you find something amazing, then you share it with your friends, and that is what I’m doing here. I am sharing it with you. Thank you all for reading and maybe I will start posting more. Just maybe. No promises though.

Peaches in San Diego

Peaches

Dufus Extraordinarius

Dufus Extraordinarius

Fresh Fruits and Veggies in San Diego

Fruits and Veggies

Philip Rivers made of fruit

Philip Rivers made of fruit

Pumpkins and squash San Diego

Pumpkins and squash

Black Garlic San Diego

Black Garlic

Stone Fruit San Diego

Stone Fruit

Bananas & Watermelon San Diego

Bananas & Watermelon

Plums & Pears San Diego

Plums & Pears

Plum Heaven

Plum Heaven

Vegan San Diego Fresh Fruit

Fresh Fruit

Melons and Plums San Diego

Melons and Plums

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Vegan Blog Coming Out of Retirement – Follow Me on Instagram

Vegan Blog Funky Cat

Vegan Blog is Funky!

Surprise! I’m back. Well, I can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I posted on my little vegan blog! I am here to announce I am taking my vegan blog out of semi-retirement. Woo hoo!

Vegan Scallops Sophie's Kitchen

Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Scallops

You know when I started a vegan blog I thought it would be a lot of fun, and it was. But, then as I got into it, suddenly it became more work than it was fun. I have a lot of respect for all the wonderful vegan blogs and vegan bloggers out there because there is so much that goes into it. Blogging is a lot of work! Writing, cooking, documenting the recipe when you didn’t even follow one, taking pictures, editing photos, updating the blog software, making sure links are working, learning HTML code and other codes you never wanted to learn, formatting, dealing with spammers and hackers and other security issues in the background, approving comments, responding to comments, promoting, Twittering, SEOing, Facebooking, Pinteresting, Instagramming, linking, and the list is endless. I found it all a bit much just for a little vegan blog (for example this post took 3 hours) and then life events also have kept me pretty busy. So, that kind of explains my being semi-retired for about 2 years now.

Dehydrated Watermelon

Dehydrated Watermelon

First, I want to thank all of my loyal fans and followers. Secondly, I have been mostly on Instagram these days posting photos of delicious vegan food and other funky stuffs. Please follow me on MY INSTAGRAM. I have really enjoyed connecting with other like-minded vegan people on Instagram and have truly been blessed and enlightened by my experience with everyone there. The pictures in this post are just a few from my Instagram.

I also have decided to bring this blog back to life a little. Perhaps not posting for 2 years was a bit extreme. Ha ha. So, maybe if I post once a month (give or take) that will be a good balance. My focus these days is really on my music, which takes so much time and energy.

Wheatgrass Juice Vitamix Buddha

Wheatgrass Juice Vitamix Buddha

Mrs. McFly and I have been leaning towards becoming more raw vegan and may try to do a raw 30 day challenge. Also, in the last 2 years so much cool stuff has happened in the vegan world and it is easier and better than ever to lead a plant-based lifestyle. We also have been evolving in our knowledge and bought a Vitamix and Excalibur dehydrator. So exciting and fun. Maybe I can get Mrs. McFly up to speed on how to blog and she can take over some of the blogging duties.

That’s enough from me for now. Stay funky and vegan.

Sincerely,

The Funky Vegan –  Funkinutt McFly

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Vegan Banh Mi Chay from Bánh Mì San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich

When I die, my last meal request would likely be a vegan Banh Mi sandwich. In particular, a vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese sandwich! It even sounds great! Say it out loud! Bánh Mì! — pronounced “Bon Mee”.

I’ve always loved Vietnamese food. Their combinations of spicy and salty, with a touch of sweet and sour, produce that perfect umami flavor perfection that I love so much. Only Thai food rivals the joys of umami and would be a close 2nd for a death bed meal, but a Banh Mi Chay is really my last wish.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwiches

Sure, you can make your own Bánh Mì at home, but they are so inexpensive that I just prefer to let the experts make them and buy Banh Mi from a restaurant, street food cart, or food truck.

One of our favorite places in San Diego is Banh Mi San Marcos. They make these giant Banh Mi sandwiches and it is family owned and operated. The secret to a great Banh Mi is extremely fresh ingredients, especially the French baguette used for the bread, and Banh Mi San Marcos gets it right every time.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Banh Mi San Marcos

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich from Banh Mi San Marcos

We order the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich without mayo and add Vegenaise ourselves in place of the mayonnaise. It comes with the traditional ingredients of cucumber, jalapeño, pickled carrots and daikon, with cilantro, and we like to add Sriracha or chili garlic sauce to each bite. Some Vietnamese restaurants use fish sauce with their tofu or on the sandwiches, so be sure to ask about that to make it vegan. Bánh Mì San Marcos does not use fish sauce on the Bánh Mì Chay. Yay!

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos Menu

Banh Mi San Marcos is located at 706 Rancho Sante Fe Road San Marcos, CA 92078. You can phone 760-599-0177. They don’t have a website, but I’ve included a picture of their menu, which also shows their hours. They are closed on Sundays.

They have some of the best Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwiches I have ever tasted, and I’ve had many. Give them a try or search your local area for a restaurant that serves the Banh Mi Chay fried tofu sandwich. If you’ve never had one then you are missing out on true delight. Do not deprive yourself. Go now! It may very well end up being your death bed last meal request, too.

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Sandwich

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

Vegan Banh Mi Chay Vietnamese Sandwich with Sriracha

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Gnocchi Recipe – Hairy Dumplings with Gardein Beefless Tips

Gnocchi Recipe Hairy Dumplings with Gardein Beefless Tips

Hairy Dumplings with Gardein Beefless Tips

I had to find Gardein recipes because there were some Gardein Beefless Tips that we were hungry for and so I searched some vegan blogs and found a very interesting recipe called Hairy Dumplings. What? Repeat that! Hairy Dumplings? Hunh? Yes, indeed. Hairy Dumplings. This is not really a Gardein recipe per se, but one I added Gardein to with amazing results. The dumplings are really gnocchi and gosh, it is so hard for me to follow recipes exactly (does anyone else have this problem?), so I added a couple of my own touches.

The recipe is from Elisabeth’s vegan blog at Czech Vegan in America and uses gnocchi and sauerkraut. I know it sounds kind of odd at first, but my girlfriend and I LOVED it so much we were wishing we had leftovers! Apparently, it is a family recipe that her grandma and great-grandma make with dumplings and she modified it with the potato gnocchi instead of dumplings.

Gnocchi Recipe Hairy Dumplings with Gardein Beefless Tips

Gardein Recipes Love the Onions!

Now see I usually like my gnocchi recipes to include a vegan pesto or extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and some vegan Parmesan cheese, maybe a little tomato. So, when I read it and saw sauerkraut with gnocchi, I was a little uncertain about that combo. Don’t get me wrong, I love sauerkraut, but I was little hesitant to try it. But, the Czechs really know what they are doing and the ground caraway seeds add a delicious flavor. An added bonus is that it is easy and only takes about 20 minutes to make. I think Elisabeth should submit this one to the Gardein recipes section on their website. Thanks Elisabeth for allowing me to share this and for the great meal that we will have again and again.

If anyone tries this I would love to hear your comments. I’ve never actually tried any of the Gardein recipes from their website. Have you? Do you have a favorite? Do you have a killer gnocchi recipe I should try? Let me know. :)

Don’t have Gardein? Well, you can make it without it and it would still be awesome or you could try adding seitan instead. It just so turns out that the Beefless Tips were a perfect pairing with this recipe. Enjoy.

~* The Funky Vegan

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

1 16-ounce package vegan gnocchi
2 cups sauerkraut
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
2 teaspoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups water
1 small onion, cut into thin circles

~*My additions*~
1 9-ounce package Gardein Beefless Tips
1/2 teaspoon dill
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Directions: Prepare this Hairy Dumplings recipe from Czech Vegan In America and the Gardein Beefless Tips according to package directions. Put the dill and the black pepper into the sauerkraut. When done, add the Gardein, top with the onions, and drizzle 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil over the top, then serve. Prepare to be blown away.

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Vegan Pizza – Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza

Vegan Pizza Slices

Vegan Pizza Slices

I love pizza. Most people do. Luckily vegan pizza has come a long way in the last few years. My girlfriend wanted some vegan pizza the other night after a hard day at work. Comfort food? Yeah. So, I looked online and found a pizzeria a few miles away that serves vegan pizza. It’s called Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza in Carlsbad, close to San Diego, CA. They have several locations in San Diego, Southern California, and Las Vegas. See below for important caveats for vegans. Want a free pizza? Keep reading.

Vegan Pizza Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

Sammy's Woodfired Vegan Pizza in the box

I called and asked all the right questions (so I thought – more later) and ordered their vegetarian pizza to go, substituting Daiya vegan cheese for the regular cheese for a $2.00 upcharge and xing the fontina cheese. It had grilled eggplant, onions, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes, with a roasted garlic sauce. They couldn’t tell me on the phone which brand of vegan cheese they use. So, we went to pick it up and I spoke with the chef and told him I wanted to be sure it did not contain casein. He was kind enough to check and informed me that they use Daiya cheese. Yay! He said he hadn’t tried it yet and I chuckled and told him it is really quite good. Anyway, thanks for checkin’ chef. Hey, they have gluten-free pizza, too.

The atmosphere at the restaurant was quite nice with a warm ambiance and very busy. They have a little patio with a fire pit and the woodfired pizza ovens are on full display. We agreed we would have to go back for the full experience. We got two vegan pizzas because they are kind of small and there is only one size. We got home and opened the box and a beautiful vegan pizza stared at us and smiled. :) We chowed down.

Vegan-Pizza-CrustVegan Pizza Close-Up

Their Vegan Pizza

Their vegan pizza is excellent. Especially, the grilled veggies. The eggplant had a wonderful texture, much like mushrooms, and the flavor of the roasted garlic sauce with the Daiya cheese was a nice combination. Everything was very well-balanced and tasted oh soo good. Nom nom nom nom.

The crust was pretty good. The crust. Ok. So, after we ate both pizzas I emailed Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza to just triple check all my facts before I posted this up on the interweb. I am new to this whole vegan thing, so I was remiss in asking about HONEY! Bah. Turns out I needed to ask a lot of questions.Lesson learned. See below for important caveats for vegan pizza at Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza.

Free Pizza

It would be nice if they DID advertise a vegan pizza on the menu, so that it would be clear to their employees and customers exactly what to order that could be considered vegan. Hey, but now YOU know. Also, their website is not up to date with all of their locations. There are a few not listed on there. You might try Google Maps instead. FREE PIZZA? Join their Insider E-Club on their website and get a coupon for a free pizza with the purchase of a menu item of equal or greater value. You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter for deals.

Important Caveats for Vegans

I called and spoke with their corporate chef, Jeff, and got more information. He said they are working on a vegan menu. Hooray! Go Sammy’s. Go chef Jeff. Here’s what you need to know in the meantime.

  • Their regular crust contains honey. Order whole wheat, artisan, or gluten-free crust instead.
  • Their “homemade sauce” is not vegan and contains cheese. You need to specify that you want marinara sauce without cheese.
  • The roasted garlic sauce IS NOT vegan, but was at the time of this writing. They added Parmesan cheese. :(
  • The Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce IS vegan.
  • The veggies are grilled first thing in the morning on a clean grill, but it is the same grill used to grill meat, in case this is an issue for someone.

The verdict. Awesome good vegan pizza. My girlfriend already went back. We will continue trying vegan pizza here in San Diego and I hope to make my own very soon. To avoid any controversy, the pictures here of vegan pizza are not vegan since I didn’t know the regular crust contained honey.

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza Vegan Pizza

Vegan Pizza with Grilled Veggies

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza

Pizza Box

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Roasting Vegetables Recipe – Root Vegetable Edition

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables - Look at that garlic!

I like roasting vegetables because it’s easy and the results have a lot of flavor. Gotta get down to the root of things sometimes to get to the good stuffs. Roasting vegetables of the ROOT variety is one of my favorites, because there is very little fuss over the timing of the different veggies to worry about. As long as you cut them about the same size there is no need to put some vegetables in earlier and then some in later. Roasting vegetables allows you to wander away from the kitchen and do some other stuff.

Roasting Vegetables Potatoes Carrots Garlic Onions

Halfway done - Adding Herbs

This is not so much a hard and fast recipe as it is a basic how to guideline. Feel free to change-up the root vegetables or if you wanted to add something else like asparagus or eggplant you might need to do a little research and factor in the timing of adding other non-root veggie items. Also, I encourage you to play with the herbs and spices. I often do! This is just how I did it this one time. Next time will probably be slightly different. I am not going to give amounts either. Just roll with what you want or got or whatever is in season.

Roasted Vegetables Vegan

Roasted Vegetables Plated

I used cassava or yuca root this time around. Once I had yuca fries at an El Salvadoran restaurant and fell in love with it. What a weird beast, though. You should give it a try. I have only cooked with it a few times, but I dig it. Come to find out cassava is the 3rd largest source of carbohydrates for meals in the world. Right after rice and soft-drinks. :) Ha ha! I am guessing after rice and potatoes, actually.

Roasting Vegetables is Easy

Prep time: depends on the amount of roasting vegetables
Cooking time: 55 minutes
Total time: 70-90 minutes

Ingredients:

Potatoes
Yams or sweet potatoes
Leeks
Sweet onions with stalks still on
Carrots
Japanese turnips
Cassava a.k.a. yuca root, manioc, or incorrectly as ‘yucca’
Parsnips
Garlic whole heads
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Marjoram
Thyme
Sea Salt
Black Pepper freshly ground
Tabasco Sauce to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel the carrots. Chop the tops off of the leeks where they begin to turn green. Do the same with the onions and halve. Halve the turnips and snip off the greens, leaving a little stem attached to each turnip. Use the leftover turnip greens for a salad or cook them like spinach or kale. Peel the parsnips. Peel the cassava. Cut the very tops off of the garlic heads.

2. Cut up the potatoes, yams, parsnips, and cassava into similar size pieces. See my pictures for size examples. I wish I had cut my carrots in half. So, cut the carrots in half length-wise.

3. Place all items (except garlic) onto a roasting pan or cookie sheet or multiples of such items if needed.

4. Sprinkle the root vegetables generously with extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste. Then take your clean hands and make sure all the vegetables are well-coated with oil, otherwise they might dry out and no one wants that.

5. Cook at 425° Fahrenheit for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, stir well and rearrange vegetables with tongs and try to make sure they get coated again with the olive oil. Add the garlic to the roasting pan and pour about 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over the top of each garlic head and add a pinch of salt. At this point add the herbs (in this case marjoram and thyme) to taste.

6. Return the roasting pan to the oven for another 30 minutes.

7. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 4 minutes and serve.

What to Serve with Roasted Vegetables?

We often just eat these like this and with nothing else. Yes, they are that good. But, I suppose you could serve them with some seitan or other plant-based protein if you wanted these to be kind of like a side dish. Roasted vegetables are just one of the many reasons I love being vegan.

~*The Funky Vegan

Roasting Vegetables

Roasting Vegetables Prep

Vegetarian Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Veggies Lookin' Good

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How To: Freezing Avocados – Avocado Love

Avocado Love Heart

Avocado Love

Freezing Avocados is awesome when you come across a good deal on really ripe avocados. In fact, a lot of people don’t even know freezing avocados is possible. It’s so easy and I love to take advantage of those times when the wonderful avocado fruit is on sale. It is one of my favorite fruits, along with olives and chili peppers. Here in San Diego County, the avocado capital of America, there is even a highway dubbed “The Avocado Highway” because there are so many avocado groves along the route. The Aztecs actually used avocados as a sex stimulant or aphrodisiac!

Freezing Avocados

Ripe Avocados

How To Freeze Avocados

Avocado Heaven!

My girlfriend loves avocados more than anyone I have ever met. It is probably her favorite food. So, we went to the farmers market and got a litter of avocados cheap. Why were they so inexpensive? Because they were ripe and ready to eat. We bought quite a few (it’s never enough) and left some out to eat and will freeze the rest to use as we need them and before they spoil. Frozen avocados don’t work well if they are in halves, chunks, slices, or pieces. They should be ripe and it’s best if they are mashed up. These will keep for 3 to 6 months frozen, but we always eat them within a few weeks. Why? Because WE LOVE AVOCADOS!!

Here’s how I freeze avocados!

Ingredients:

  • Avocados (however many you can get your hands on!)
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or lime juice per avocado (this helps to keep them green)

Instructions:

1. Mash up the avocados with a fork and add the appropriate amount of lemon juice or lime juice to the mashed avocados. Mix well.

2. Put the mixture in plastic zip lock bags in the amounts you prefer, remove as much air as possible and seal tightly. I try to stick to about 2 avocados per bag. More than that takes longer to thaw.

3. Place in the freezer until you need them.

4. When ready to use the avocados, place the frozen plastic bag in the refrigerator for around 24 hours to thaw or place in a bowl and run cool water over the baggie until thawed.

5. Use the avocado however you want. Maybe some guacamole dip or in a vegan sandwich or wrap! Perhaps in an avocado salad or in your favorite vegan avocado recipe. Mmm. Or with some nachos, quesadillas, tacos, or burritos. Yum! Oh so many ways to spread the avocado love. Some people freeze avocados for baby food. I often like to keep it simple and just add Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper, and some ground cumin.

Voila! That’s all there is to it. Simple, huh? Freezing avocados is EASY! Try it. Stay funky and vegan!

~* The Funky Vegan

Avocados with pits

This is the pits. Not!

Sexy Avocado

Sexy Avocado

Freezing Avocados with Lemon

Avocados and Lemons

Mashed Avocados

All Mashed Up

Avocados Ready To Be Frozen

Avocados Ready To Be Frozen

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Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies With Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Chocolate Chip Cookies With Walnuts

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies With Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies With Chocolate Chips and Walnuts

Do you like Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies With Chocolate Chips and Walnuts? Me, too. Ok. I am not a baker, but when my girlfriend (who usually does the baking) wasn’t feeling well and I was craving some Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, I decided to give it a go. I kinda sorta followed a recipe for Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from one of my favorite cookbooks; Veganomicon, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero. It turned out pretty good even though I broke all the rules.

Ha ha. It is my understanding that baking is more of a precision science than cooking, but I bake like I cook; on the fly, often making stuff up as I go.

Ways I broke the rules or changed the recipe:

  • Substituted Earth Balance for canola oil
  • Used white flour instead of wheat
  • Did not sift the flour, nutmeg, baking soda, and baking powder
  • Added and eyeballed vegan chocolate chips and walnuts
  • Substituted Craisins for raisins
  • Used less raisins (Craisins) than called for in the recipe
  • Left out the allspice (I didn’t have any)
  • Baked 2 minutes longer than required
  • Made the cookies too big (supposed to get 30 – I ended up with 18)
  • Did not press the cookies down enough prior to baking

BAH! Even though I pressed them down some prior to baking, when I went to take them out of the oven at the 12 minute mark they were these round puffy things. So, I had to quickly get a glass and press them down and bake another 2 minutes. I thought they would be like the Pillsbury cookies I made growing up and spread out a lot. I was wrong. I also failed to see the yield of 30 cookies until after I made them and ended up with 18. Their recipe said to make the dough pieces “walnut sized”. Apparently, my walnuts are bigger than their walnuts!!! You can see in the picture where the chocolate is smudged around from my pressing them down with a glass.

Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Chocolate Chip Cookies With Walnuts

Yummy Cookies!

In spite of my unintentional efforts to screw up this recipe, these cookies actually turned out quite tasty. In fact, I thought they were just ok when they were warm, but the next day they were VEGAN YUMMY AWESOME! (Shh – don’t tell anyone, but I even had a couple for breakfast).

So, what did I learn? If you want Vegan Oatmeal Craisin Cookies With Chocolate Chips and Walnuts (or any baked goods) do not turn to me for a recipe or advice. I learned that I CAN bake cookies in a pinch, that I need to invest in a sifter, that I probably need some allspice in the cupboard, and most importantly that I should leave the baking to my lovely vegan girlfriend. She does a much better job than I do.

I would also like to commend Isa and Terry for creating a cookie recipe that even I couldn’t screw up. I wish I could link you to the recipe, but encourage you to buy their book, or check it out from the library.

Here’s one of my favorite funk songs about a Cookie Jar. It is a bit obscure and by the 70’s funk band Parlet. Stay funky and stay vegan.

~* The Funky Vegan

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Carlsbad Village Farmers Market

Carlsbad Farmers Market Assorted Vegetables

Carlsbad Village Farmers Market - Assorted Vegetables

Carlsbad Village Farmers Market

We decided to get some stuffs recently at the Carlsbad Village Farmers Market and ended up with this bounty of avocados, sweet onions, Japanese turnips (never tried them), and a cabbage the size of my head and weighing nearly as much! Shopping at a Farmers Market is an excellent way to support your local farmers and buy some quality super-funky fresh produce, often at prices better than the grocery store. Some vendors have organic food, too. We are blessed to have so many Farmers Markets in the San Diego, CA area.

We couldn’t pass up the deal on avocados since they are $1.50 to $2.00 at the grocery store right now (crazy!). One vendor had vegan tamales and even though they were a little pricy we tried a black bean tamale and a veggie tamale with some killer salsa. They were so yummy and fresh. No lard – Yay! We wanted tomatoes, but there weren’t any really awesome ones, yet. Maybe next time. Strawberries are in season, but we had a whole 8 pints recently and are almost straw-berried out, which I don’t think is humanly possible. Can’t wait to make some killer stuffs with all this goodness. It always makes us feel happy, inside and out, to buy local food.

You can find Farmers’ Markets (and more) in your area by going to the Local Harvest website. For more information about the Carlsbad Village Farmers Market click here. Wish I had remembered to bring my camera to the actual market. Bah! Next time. :) Keep it funky and vegan!

~* The FunkyVegan

Carlsbad Village Farmers Market Bounty

Carlsbad Village Farmers Market Bounty

Farmer's Market Avocados Japanese Turnips Sweet Onions Cabbage

Avocados, Japanese Turnips, Sweet Onions, Cabbage



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Filed under Eating, Farmers Market, Food, Food Products, Vegan, Vegetarian

TVP Tacos – Textured Vegetable Protein Recipe for Taco Filling

TVP Tacos - Textured Vegetable Protein Taco Filling Recipe

TVP Tacos - Textured Vegetable Protein Taco Filling Recipe

TVP Tacos – Textured Vegetable Protein Taco Filling RecipeBookmark and Share

These vegan TVP tacos or Textured Vegetable Protein vegan tacos are so yummy and easy to make. This recipe uses dried red New Mexican chilies for a more authentic flavor than just using plain chili powder. TVP or Textured Vegetable Protein is the perfect medium for making these vegan tacos.

TVP® is an inexpensive and versatile soy product made from defatted soy flour and will absorb whatever flavors you decide to add to it. Low in fat and high in protein, fiber, iron, magnesium and phosphorus, with a fair amount of calcium, TVP is also good for you! You can find it at your local health food store in the bulk section or ask if they carry a packaged brand.

TVP Textured Vegetable Protein Uncooked

TVP Textured Vegetable Protein Uncooked

It costs about $2.00 to make this recipe. Compare that to the packaged store-bought taco fillers at around $3.99 each that make half the servings and you just saved yourself some money. You can make a big batch of this TVP taco filling and freeze it for later use or double the recipe and make a medium batch and put the leftover taco filling in a plastic bag in the fridge and use it within a few days. You could top the tacos with your favorite taco additions; perhaps some vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, and lettuce, tomato, and onions. In the pictures with this recipe, we just added a little vegan Daiya cheese and fresh jalapenos to keep it simple and served it with a big beautiful bad ass salad. But the sky is the limit with whatever toppings you choose. Have fun and experiment.

Dried Red New Mexican Chili Peppers

Dried Red New Mexican Chili Peppers

If you don’t have the dried New Mexican chilies, you can substitute dried California chilies or dried Ancho chilies. Worst case scenario, you can’t find any of those dried chile peppers? Just triple the amount of chile powder in the recipe, but be warned, it won’t be quite as Funky Vegan as when you use the real deal chili pods. No, it is not spicy – these chilies aren’t really hot.

Textured Vegetable Protein is also good for making vegetarian chili and some people like to use it as a meat substitute in their spaghetti. But, really there are a ton of great ways to use TVP. Need more ideas for TVP? Do a search for recipes Textured Vegetable Protein. Here’s my recipe:

Textured Vegetable Protein Tacos

Textured Vegetable Protein Tacos

 

Prep time: 3 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Total time: 13 minutes

Serves: 8 vegan tacos

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups TVP – Textured Vegetable Protein
2 dried red New Mexican chilies
4 cloves garlic
1/4 onion
1-1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon Cavender’s Greek seasoning
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco brand pepper sauce
1 tablespoon chile powder
Juice of 1 lime
1-3/4 cups water

3 ounces tomato paste – optional

Instructions:

1. Remove stems from the red New Mexican dried chilies. Add chilies, garlic, onion, and 1/4 cup of water to a mini-food processor or blender and process until very finely chopped.

2. Add mixture to a 2 or 3 quart sauce pot on high heat with all remaining ingredients for 2 minutes and stir thoroughly to incorporate the ingredients.

3. Reduce heat to medium for 8 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes.

4. Remove from heat and serve.

TVP Taco Stuffers - Chili Onion Garlic Blend

TVP Taco Stuffers - Chili Onion Garlic Blend

TVP Taco Stuffers Blend - Chili Onion Garlic

TVP Taco Stuffers Blend - Chili Onion Garlic

TVP Taco Filling - In the pot

TVP Taco Filling - In the pot

 

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