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1 Cup fresh pineapple, chopped

2 Small tomatoes, chopped

1/2 Green pepper, chopped

1 Green onion, chopped

1/2 Jalepeno, seeded and chopped

1 Tablespoon Pineapple Sage

1 Lime, zest and juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a medium bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for about an hour so the flavours can marry (important step).

~The Vegan Project

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Ingredients:

1 can of black beans

1 large shallot, chopped (about 3 tablespoons)

1 tablespoon of olive oil plus 1/4 cup for blending (or you may substitute water to blend for a lower fat version)

1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper

6 basil leaves, torn

1 small jalepeno, seeded and chopped (optional)

Sautee the shallot in 1 tablespoon of olive oil on low heat. You want them to get golden and caramelized.  Set aside. Drain the black beans and put them in your food processor along with the torn basil leaves, shallots, jalepeno, salt and pepper.  Turn processor on low and add the olive oil (or water) through the top. Turn on high and blend till smooth. Like any dip, the longer it sits, the better it gets.  Try and hold out as long as you can!  Really great in a sandwich or wrap, and of course with some tortilla chips for some guilt-free dippin’.  Low in fat, high in fibre and flavour, this dip is good for your heart and your soul.

~The Vegan Project

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Not long ago, our friend Alicia Katz introduced us to the joy that is Sandra Lee, the buxom blonde host of the popular Food Network cooking show – Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. Sandra shows her viewers how to make meals at home that use 70% packaged ingredients and 30% fresh.  She also makes gorgeous ‘table scapes’ (elaborate centre pieces).  If you’d like to see an example of her work, view the Kwanzaa Cake episode. I guarantee you won’t be able to look away (probably out of sheer horror).

With visions of Sandra Lee in my head, I guess I was ‘inspired’ to subconsciously purchase a frozen Asian vegetable medley (including shitake mushrooms, palm hearts, snow peas, peppers and carrots) from the freezer section at Shopper’s Drug Mart.  Sometimes, due to circumstances beyond our control, we end up using frozen vegetables in a recipe.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of, as long as we support our local farmers whenever we can.

This series of events was the basis for what happened next, which was the creation of a semi-homemade vegan dish I like to call:

The Most Delicious Vegan Stir Fry I’ve Ever Made

Ingredients:

1 cup brown basmati rice

1 tbsp Earth Balance

2 tsp soy sauce

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp sesame oil

1/3 block smoked tofu, cut diagonally in triangles

6-8 local farmer’s market fresh garlic scapes, chopped diagonally

1/2 cup teriyaki sauce

3 tsp rice vinegar

1 tsp corn starch

black sesame seeds and chili flakes for sprinkling

Directions:

Cook basmati rice as directed (using Earth Balance instead of butter).

Mix soy sauce, garlic and tofu in a bowl.  Heat sesame oil in a heavy skillet.  Cook tofu mixture at medium-high heat until tofu chunks are crispy on the edges.  Set tofu aside and add a bit more oil to the pan.  Add scapes and frozen vegetables and cover and steam for 2 minutes. Mix teriyaki, rice vinegar and corn starch in a bowl.  Add tofu and sauce mixture to the pan. Simmer for a few minutes until sauce thickens.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with black sesame seeds and chili pepper flakes.

Gorgeous!

~The Vegan Project

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Tonight we had a meeting with our talented graphic designer Sabrina Modder to discuss the layout of our website.  We told Sabrina that we would make a vegan dinner for her.  On the menu – a Mediterranean Pizza on Trader Joe’s vegan whole wheat pizza dough, and a salad with a lemon dijon thyme vinaigrette.

On the way to Sabrina’s we got a bit sidetracked at the Ukranian deli near her apartment.  Jessica impulsively bought a jar of pickles, and we picked up dessert – a pure bar of dark chocolate with strawberry and cracked green peppercorn.

The mingling Mediterranean vegetables on the pizza were so flavourful together that  we didn’t find ourselves yearning for cheese at all.

Veggie Pizza

Mediterranean Pizza and Salad with Lemon Dijon Thyme Vinaigrette

Pizza

1 package Trader Joe’s Vegan Whole Wheat Pizza Dough or any vegan whole wheat dough

1 roasted red pepper, chopped

2 tbsp banana peppers, chopped

10 kalamata olives, pitted

3 artichoke hearts (non-marinated), chopped

1/2 Cipollini onion, or any sweet onion, chopped

1 small zucchini, sliced thinly

1 roma tomato, seeded and chopped

4 white mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

6 basil leaves, chopped

3 tbsp olive oil

sesame seeds for crust garnish

Prepare pizza dough according to directions.  Preheat oven.  Saute zucchini, onion, and mushrooms, and garlic in 2 tbsp olive oil.  Set aside.  Begin assembling pizza.  Add the remaining tbsp olive oil, basil, and all veggies onto the prepared pizza dough. Sprinkle sesame seeds and one more swig of olive oil and bake in the oven until crust is lightly browned.  This pizza is piled high and may require a fork and knife to enjoy.

Salad with Lemon Dijon Thyme Vinaigrette

Dressing

2 tbsp dijon mustard

Juice from one lemon

Leaves of 2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, chopped

1.5 tsp brown rice syrup

Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

1 head of romaine, torn

2 small Persian cucumbers, chopped

1 roma tomato, chopped

1 avocado, sliced

Whisk all dressing ingredients together.  Let sit for a while in the fridge so the flavours mingle.

Combined salad ingredients, toss with dressing and enjoy!

Suggestion:  For additional protein try adding chickpeas, toasted nuts of your choice, or hemp hearts.

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into day 2 now of vegan september and i’m realizing that a few things need clarification.

first – i would like to emphasize that we are not trying to sell a particular product or commercial interest, but may talk about products we are trying or information we come across as we learn what veganism is all about. any links to websites belonging to such products are not an endorsement for you to buy them, but merely supplemental information.

second – i would like to reiterate that we have nothing against consumers of meat and other animal products. as a former meat eater, i know how tasty a hot, crispy buffalo wing is, dammit! and some people loooove a juicy steak, or a big plate of cheesy nachos.  some get very passionate about defending their right to eat these things, and that is their prerogative.  we’re not trying to pick fights with these people.  all we want to do is tell people that eating less animal products (try one animal product free meal a week, for example), can improve your health, reduce your impact on the planet, and maybe even affect the plight of animals treated poorly in the various animal product industries.  and you might even be surprised to learn that there are recipes out there that don’t use a single ounce of animal product, but are still incredibly tasty (i was once skeptical, too!).

today, Bridget made some delicious tomato rosemary scones that have been one of my favourite vegan recipes we’ve come across so far.  if you would like the recipe, i posted it on my other blog, with permission of the author, of course…  jessica

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