Papas Loco

IMG_0086If you are my friend and want to go out for breakfast/brunch/lunch you know where I am going to suggest. Coffee Cup. Every. Damn. Time. Seriously, it's my favorite place in all of San Diego and I'm not alone, come the weekend there is always a giant line! It's like Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives good, but wayyyyyyy too cool to ever appear on that show. It's nestled in fancy pants La Jolla and barely seats 45, maybe. I have probably been to CC at least 40 times over the past few years… maybe more, maybe a lot more… Rocco has been there 7 times since he's been born… It's a serious obsession. They have my order memorized, yes, I'm happy to announce that I am a regular somewhere. I just love that!!! I even ate there the day I went into labor!! I am super positive it was the jalapeños that started the whole labor shenanigans. But now that our little bundle of joy is here and all kinds of serious about his nap times we don't get to brunch as we used to, so while not nearly as scrumdidilyumtious our recipe hack was pretty freakin yummy. Enjoy!!! IMG_0085Fed 2, but it's probably a good 4 servings… I'm sustaining life, I eat ALL. THE. TIME.

Whatcha need:

3 larget red potatoes, scrubbed clean and diced

1 tablespoon dried rosemary

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil***

1 15oz can of black beans [preferably organic]

1/3 cup onions, chopped super fine

1 clove of garlic, minced

3-4 green onions, sliced [we go a bit crazy with them]

1 jalapeño, sliced [We use the whole thing, seeds and all. If you are a pansy you can seed them]

2-3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 avocado, sliced

Serve with your favorite salsa and corn tortillas[preferably organic, non-gmo]

[Step 1] Get potatoes in boiling water or in a steamer, whichever method you prefer. Cook until fork tender. When they are finished strain and then pat dry with paper towel.

[Step 2] In a pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and then toss in green onions and jalapeños turn heat up to high. Add a pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper, sauté for just a few minutes until they have some color! Pour out onto a paper towel.

[Step 3] In the same pot, [we like to use as few pans as possible] add another little drizzle of olive oil, toss in onion and garlic. Watch carefully so they don't burn. Cook until translucent. Then toss in beans. Add a pinch of salt and let simmer while you brown up the potatoes.

[Step 4] In a nonstick or cast iron pan, add a tablespoon of oil and get it nice and hot on medium/high heat.  Then toss in potatoes. Smash them down with a spatula and let them just hang out. You can sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper before you toss them over. If the pan is getting dry you can add another tablespoon of oil. The key here is to get them super brown and crispy!!!

[Step 5] Assemble. Pototoes, then beans, top with jalapeños and green onions, then place avocado and sprinkle with cilantro!! Done and Done. Serve with your favorite salsa and corn tortillas.

***Some of you may know that I don't like to cook with a ton of oil, if any, but I think for a special meal is completely acceptable!!!

Today we eat our feelings…

photo 1Sometimes a girl just needs to eat her feelings. I'm lucky that my beautiful and wonderful and tough as nails friends agree. I've moved a lot since I married The Captain over 7 years ago and San Diego is where I've blossomed. In those years I stumbled a lot, I had a lot of things to figure out once I moved away from my friends and family. Now over the years growing up and finding security in myself and my faith is what really helped me become the Lauren I am today. For the first time in years have true [non-crazy] adult friends. I'm just beyond blessed that I've found people who love and accept me for the right-nutter that I am! Okay, I digress. Back to the food. So my kick ass friends decided we needed to do brunch and they are so awesome they let me make my crazy vegan food and one buddy even made the fluffiest most delicious vegan pancakes ever!! I mean like whoa. photo 5I made The Minimalist Baker's Best Damn Vegan Biscuits and I can assure you that they are insanely delicious and absolutely live up to the name! I finish them off with Fat Free Vegan's killer Mushroom Gravy and it tastes like unicorns and fairy dust. The awesome pancakes from Food.com were so yummy, I was amazed at how fluffy they were!!! Definitely try making these at your next big breakfast! And now my vegan quiche, the love of my life. I keep all the ingredients on hand to make this quiche just in case the craving hits… and yes, it hits often. Like really, really often.

Yields 8 Pieces [basically it feeds 2 hungry people or 4-6 normal people]

1 vegan pie crust, I love the Wholly Wholesome brand

1 box of silken tofu

1/4 of refrigerated firm tofu [basically like an inch or so]

1/4 cup of nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of turmeric

1 tablespoon of arrowroot [you can substitute corn starch]

1-2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

photo 2

For this particular filling I used:

1 onion, sliced very thin

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 cup of kale, chopped

I like to caramelize my onions with water. Crazy thought I know, but seriously. I put the onions in a hot pan with 1/4 cup of water. Cook on high heat until  water evaporates, then continue the process until the onions are browned and yummy. It usually takes about 10 minutes. Then I pop in the red pepper and kale until heated through. Mix with tofu mixture and place in pie crust and bake for 45 minutes. Take out and let sit for at least 5 minutes.

Now there are a tons of options here, like seriously, whatever your heart desires. Here are a few of my favorite combos.

[sautéed onions and mushrooms] [red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, and kalamata olives] [chopped spinach and vegan cheese, like Daiya]

Enjoy!!!!

The Most Important Meal of the Day

photoSo you hear this your whole life and for all the preggos out there breakfast can seem like the greatest meal you've ever had in your life!!! If you are anything like me, you are thrilled to wake up in the morning because that means you can eat!!! This little boy keeps me hungry ALL. THE. TIME. and I want ALL. THE. FOOD. I try to start my day off with a healthy, filling choice to set me on the right path for the rest of the day. Now, I'm super lucky that I wasn't crazy sick for the first trimester, Praise The Lord. I did indeed have plenty of nauseous days in the early weeks and I found that eating a small, balanced breakfast actually helped keep the tummy troubles at bay. So anywhozzle, here are a few of my favorite bfast meals. photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 copy photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 copy photo 5 photoSo you can see a lot of the same basic ideas repeated and with slight variations. First off, lotsa fruit. I'm not picky. Strawberries, blueberries, oranges, bananas, plums… you name it! So on top of being full of vitamins and nutrients, hello vitamin c, potassium, and folic acid, fruit is full of fiber which is important all the time, but especially whilst pregnant. Can anyone say hemorrhoids!?!? Sound awful?! Getcha fiber. Secondly, I usually have walnuts, nature's best plant based source of omega-3's, a B vitamin cray important during pregnancy. They are are also pumped full of protein and fiber. Same with sunflower seeds packed full of  B vitamins, folate, and a host of other wonderful health benefits with little fat. Every once in a while, I'll have a soy yogurt with granola, walnuts, and shredded coconut. Yum. I've even made breakfast ice-cream. Yes, it's green. Throw a frozen banana, handful of greens, and a splash of almond milk into a blender and top with pepitas and shredded coconut. YUM. I'm not a huge toast person, but when I do I love Ezekiel bread toasted and spread with some all-natural almond butter! I also had a kick of the McDougall Right Foods oatmeal cups. So easy!!! Pop them in the microwave with some water and boom. Done. I forgo the sugar packet and add a touch of maple syrup, some nuts or seeds and berries. Talk about starting the morning right!  And because it can't hurt, I sometimes add a cup of fortified almond milk or orange juice. Hope this inspires you to have yummy plant based breakfasts that are good for you and your little nugget!!!

Recreating Perfection

photo 1 photo 2Last year I attended a friends wedding in Maryland and whilst in the DC area we were able to hang with some of our east coast peeps. One morning we ate at Busboys and Poets and my life forever changed. I had the most unbelievable and delish tofu wrap. It was seriously one of the best things I've ever eaten. I dream about it. I actually think about planning trips to DC just so that I can go and eat this thing again! Suuuurisly, it's totes that good. So after 8 months of craving, I had to try and recreate the tofu-y, faken' bacon-y, cheeze-y deliciousness. Note: this took a hot minute to prepare, so give yourself an hour if you want to enjoy this awesomeness. My wrap didn't turn out exactly like my dreams, but it was pretty tasty! The "bacon" was so super sweet and maple-y and the potatoes were a brilliant side. Feeds 4

Breakfast Potatoes

5 medium/small red potatoes, chopped small so they cook faster and crisp up easy

3 tablespoons of olive oil**

1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder

a few pinches of salt

pinch of cayenne [optional]

Place potatoes evenly on a baking sheet, mix well with oil and spices. Bake for 35 minutes at 375 degrees, then bump the oven up to 450 and cook for 10 more minutes to crisp those suckers up!

Maple Bacon Seitan

2 seitan slices [if you can only find chunks than, of course, use those]

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 teaspoon of liquid smoke

1/4 teaspoon salt

Let the seitan soak up the maple goodness while you are working on your potatoes! Then sauté in a hot pan until cooked through. 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Be sure not to overcook or you will end up with rubber faken-bacon, I know something about this. It does NOT taste good. Chop into bite sized pieces for the wrap!

Tofu Scramble

1/2 block of tofu, pressed and then smushed with a fork

3 tablespoons red bell peppers, diced

3 tablespoons red onion, diced

handful of spinach, cut into strips

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup of diaya cheddar shreds

quarter of a lemon

cooked setian bacon

flour tortillas

I cook this up just like my tofu scramble. I used a touch of oil to start the onions because I was desperately trying to recreate the meal. Once they are soft add red peppers and spinach. Once spinach is wilted add smushed tofu and all spices. Finish off by adding the chopped pieces of seitan and the cheese mixing until melted. Place into tortillas, and fold in the sides and roll up into a yummy burrito!!

**Yes, I used oil!!! I don't cook with much oil in my house. I find it pretty unnecessary in daily life, it's basically fat and calories that you don't need in your life. I know plenty of people have plenty of opinions on healthy fat, blah blah. As an informed human, I find that it should be treated, like a cupcake, as an indulgence. Here is a list of research that is truly eye opening!**

Tofu Scramble This!

photo 2Vegan breakfast food is quite a hard egg to crack… hahaha. Eggs. Vegan's don't eat eggs. In all seriousness, eating breakfast out, one life's greatest pleasures, is a ridiculous challenge when you are vegan. Living in Cali has its perks, but I still have yet to find a tofu scramble as good as my own… Yep, giving myself a big ole pat on the back! I've found heavenly vegan pancakes, the most delicious vegan biscuits and gravy, and the most amazing papas loco on the planet, but I love my tofu scramble. photo 1Serves 2-3

1 container of extra firm organic tofu, drained and pressed then smush with a fork, until it's crumbly

half of an onion, chopped finely

half a red bell pepper, chopped finely

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

1 teaspoon of turmeric

nice big pinch of salt

squeeze of lemon

[Optional veggies: finely diced zucchini, mushrooms, jalapeños, carrots, etc. The possibilities are endless]

photo 3Heat a tablespoon of water or veggie stock in a non-stick pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add red pepper and spinach, cook until spinach is wilted. Add tofu to the pan, add garlic powder, turmeric, and salt then mix well. Once mixture is heated through, turn off the heat and squeeze a quarter wedge of lemon. It just brightens up all the flavors!! I serve mine with warmed corn tortillas, avocado, and salsa or hot sauce. You. Are. Welcome.

Breakfast Casserole

photo 1During our vacation in the mountains over Christmas, I felt so left out whilst everyone devoured a super yummy looking, super not vegan breakfast casserole and I thought to myself, there has to be a way. Growing up my mom made the most delicious breakfast casserole ever Christmas morning, so I couldn't get this idea out of my head. The Captain and I were determined and our attempt was a MAJOR success. It's so freaking tasty. The recipe is not difficult at all, but there are a few steps involved. Luckily, it feeds an army so you will have breakfast for many mornings after!! This would be perfect for any special morning. It makes me want a bloody mary. Someone get on that stat. photo 31/2 large onion, chopped

4 cups of frozen breakfast potatoes

6 oz of veggie sausage, browned [cooked to package instructions]

2 boxes of extra firm silken tofu

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon of turmeric

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 tablespoon of arrowroot or cornstarch

Juice from a quarter of a lemon

optional 1 cup of daiya

photo 2Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Start cooking onions [I used veggie stock] once they are translucent add and cook potatoes via package instructions. You should be browning up the "sausage" too. In a blender, mix tofu, turmeric, garlic powder, salt, nutritional yeast, almond milk, lemon juice, and arrowroot. Blend until smooth. Once everything is finished, layer the ingredients in a 9x13 pan. I put the potatoes down first then added a layer of daiya cheese followed by the tofu mixture and finally the sausage sprinkled on top. Bake for 45 minutes and let sit for 15 minutes before enjoying.

It's crazy good. Creamy and hearty. Feel free to enjoy with avocado, corn tortillas, and your desire hot sauce.