Sunday, January 30, 2011

Espresso yourself!

“Once you wake up and smell the coffee, it’s hard to go back to sleep.” -Fran Drescher

Caffè Mocha Ooh La La!

1 cup strong (caffeinated or decaffeinated) coffee
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp turbinado sugar
2 tbsp almond milk

What to do:
Brew coffee. Mix coffee, cocoa powder, sugar, and almond milk. Enjoy!

This definitely tastes like something extremely fancy from a coffee house, but as you can see it is simple and most people have these ingredients on hand in their house. This is also an inexpensive way to get specialty coffee taste and not break the bank. Spero che godiate del vostro caffè!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quickie Veggie Burger Home-style Meal

Pay attention because this is going to be fast! A full home-style meal, made in just minutes. The taste is so satisfying and bold, you will fool anyone with it.

What you see above is a Morningstar Farms Vegan Griller, slathered in sauce and broiled to perfection over a bed of minute brown rice with sides of garlic seasoned green beans and buttery mixed vegetables. This took literally 15 minutes, probably not even that. And the meal is about 4 servings.

Rice - First make the rice according to the box's instruction. I used some minute-type brown rice that cooked in 5 minutes, so I had that going on the stove while I did the other part of the meal. If you have some leftover (I like to make big batches of rice at a time to use for a few meals), even better, all you have to do is warm it up slightly.

Buttery Mixed Vegetables - I used steam in the bag. Once that is done in the microwave, carefully transfer to a bowl and add 2 tbsp Earth Balance buttery spread, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it up.

Garlic Green Beans - I used steam in the bag again for these. I then transferred them into a saute pan, with 1 tbsp olive oil and 2 tbsp minced garlic (from the jar - think EASY), added garlic powder, salt, pepper to taste, and sauteed on low while I prepared the veggie burger.

Savory Onion Sauce Broiled Veggie Burger - take 4 vegan burgers (either Morningstar Farms Vegan Grillers, Boca Vegan burgers, or any other vegan burger you fancy) and microwave them for 2 minutes. That will get them defrosted and warmed, but not overcooked. Then take 4 tbsp Veganaise (or any vegan mayo), 1 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos (or tamari/ soy sauce/ shoyu - whatever you have on hand), 1/2 tbsp onion powder, 1 tbsp dijon mustard, and mix together. Spread on top of veggie burgers and sprinkle the tops with a pinch of cayenne pepper. Broil in your regular or convection oven for about 3-5 minutes. You want them to warm and the sauce start to become melty, bubbly, and lightly brown.

Finally, just take a scoop of each - rice, and sides - arrange in a plate and top with one of the veggie burgers. And there you have it, a super quick and extremely tasty meal. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


This is the moment you all have been waiting for folks! My big announcement!

The Dirty Vegan to launch very own website and vegan products!

Please stay tuned. My goal to is to transition the blog to my very own website that I am hosting and working on. It is in progress right now. The website will sell vegan products that I use in my recipes and for your convenience! I get countless questions about products that I use or recommend and some people may not have access to a Whole Foods or health food stores some of the time or at all. I will be offering these products, The Dirty Vegan merchandise, and eventually selling the food that I make in a pre-packaged form. Now you no longer have to just read about my yummy recipes and food, you can easily purchase it with ease! Please stay tuned! Also, as always, your feedback will be very helpful. Please e-mail any suggestions or any requests of things that you may want to see on the website to:

Thank you all for your support! It is the overwhelming response to this blog that has motivated me to offer more to the vegan community and others who frequent this blog. I am delighted and humbled to have as many website views as I do and readers from all over the world. It is the coolest thing ever! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cozy Winter Soup, Anyone?

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup.” -Laurie Colwin

Try My 'Cozy Split Pea Soup' Recipe

1 5oz package vegan bacon (like Lightlife's Smart Bacon brand), chopped into square chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 tbsp garlic, minced
5 1/2 cups water
3 chick'n flavored bouillon cubes (like Edward & Sons)
1 1/2 cups dried green split peas
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2 bay leaves

Heat olive oil in soup pan on medium heat and saute vegan bacon until it begins to brown. Then cook onion, celery, carrots, and garlic until vegetables are soft. Then add water and bouillon cubes. Stir until bouillon dissolves and broth is heated thoroughly. Then stir in the split peas, rosemary, and bay leaves. Bring soup to a boil then simmer on low for 1 hour and stir occasionally.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sorta Thai, Sorta Indian

My inspiration for this dish was from both Thai and Indian cuisine. So it would not be fair to call it one or the other. No matter what we call this dish, you will love it regardless. Enjoy!

Try My 'IndiThai Tofu' recipe!


2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp vegan buttery spread, like Earth Balance
2 tsp fresh garlic, blended into a paste
2 tsp fresh ginger, blended into a paste
1 cup tomatoes, diced (canned worked great for this)
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
salt to taste
16 oz tofu, drained and cubed
1/2 cup water
1/8 cup Edward & Sons creamed coconut, dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water
1 tsp sugar (raw or turbinado works great)
chopped cilantro for garnish, optional

Heat olive oil in large pan over medium heat. Melt the buttery spread into it. When melted, add garlic and ginger pastes. Let cook for about 1 minute and when fragrant, stir in tomatoes. Let it cook down until about 70% of the liquid evaporates. Then mix in spices and some salt. Let that warm and blend then add in cubed tofu. Gently stir around tofu until it is fully covered with the mixture. Then mix in water. Cover and let cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Then gently stir in the coconut cream and sugar. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Enjoy!

Serving & Recipe Suggestion:

-You can serve this dish over brown or white basmati rice. You can also serve a vegetable side, soup, or a salad with this.

-You can find the Edward & Sons coconut creme at grocery and natural food stores. If you have trouble finding it, you can use coconut cream or milk in the can also. The coconut creme is just more convenient because it is packed and you add water to it, which is 1 part coconut cream to 2 parts hot water. It dissolves nicely and in my opinion, easier than using the canned kind.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Puppy Love

"Ooo, you make me live. 

I'm happy, happy at home. 

You're my best friend"


You all know little Rocky, but who is his floppy-eared friend you ask? Well, we adopted Shirley about one month ago from the lovely folks at Critter Cavalry via Pet Finder. Adoption is always the way to go, no exceptions. Remember, there are countless animals out there that people throw away, abuse, neglect, and are unwanted by people who mistreat them. With that being said, why create a demand for more and more animals to be bred and born? Doesn't make sense now does it?

Shirley-girl joins our household of another dog (the Rockster you see pictured with her), a cat, and an iguana. I don't think she had any idea what she was in for! Ha! Royal treatment! You can call this residence an animal playground of sorts, doggy spa, with treats galore, toys everywhere (and I do mean everywhere all over the entire house!), comfy and cozy animal beds in every room of the house, puppy proofed place so puppy gets full range, big back yard, playmates, lots of attention, lots of love-hugs-kisses, and much much more! Sound like an infomercial much?

Positive reinforcement taught this smart puppy of less than 4 months to use the bathroom outside. WeeWee pads are also available indoors for convenience, but she has trained us, her humans, to know when to open the door so she can frolic outside whenever she fancies so. She is extremely smart! Shirley also loves the snow...Rocky, not so much a fan of snow.

I am just so happy to be able to give this special pup a second chance. I am happy to be able to spoil her, because she deserves it! All these rescues deserve nothing but the best because they have been thru a lot, even if they are only just puppies. They are being adopted out for a reason. I am especially happy that Shirley has found a friend in Rocky, and vice versa. I haven't seen Rocky play and snuggle with another dog like this since Sammy passed away a couple winters ago. Her passing really devastated the whole family, and the change in Rocky was noticeable. I love that Shirley brings out the puppy side in Rocky again. He took a liking to her very quickly, almost like he thinks she is a mini Sammy or something, almost like they knew each other forever. The friendship was instant. The first night she was here, we all piled in the car and took them to the puppy store. They both sat on my lap in the passenger seat. Anyone who truly knows Rocky, will understand how rare it is that he allows anyone else near me while he is spending time with me, but he has no problem sharing. Remarkable.

                            (you can see, what I call, Rocky's angel wings - the white fur that resembles    
                                                                             wings. Shirley has light "angel wings" fur growing in now also. Guess it means our puppies are angels)

Here is Shirley pulling Rocky across the living room in a sort of "ride" as he sat there. I couldn't believe my eyes at first, but then again it is Shirley. She likes to find the craziest ways to play. She also does this biting thing on Rocky, it is like a gentle bite with only the front of her teeth, and he moves from side to side as if he is getting a massage or a scratch. They do get on each other's nerves occasionally, but it wouldn't be true friendship if they didn't. As you can see, they like to spend time together.

I really love watching Shirley grow also. We know she will be a big girl when she is fully grown. When she first got here she was the same size as Rocky and every day she becomes bigger and bigger. The home feels complete now. Shirley was in our plan, we just didn't know it until one month ago. 

I would like people to realize that although I am extremely positive in my outlook on life, puppies are A LOT of work. Don't by any means take this as 'run out and get yourself into a situation you are not prepared for, and end up neglecting, or worse, to a poor rescue animal'. I truly believe that caring for another, whether it is an animal or a child, takes someone who is patient, kind, prepared, and committed to the lifelong responsibility. If you do not think you can handle it, don't. I see too many people who rescue or obtain animals, then chain them up outside, pen them up, and do not properly care and stimulate them. Puppies are full of energy and it is a constant job for people with the patience and drive to teach them. A puppy is a baby, don't forget. Remind yourself when it is tearing up the house, it does not know better, you have to teach it and be kind about it. Positive reinforcement is the best and most effective method, not to mention the kindest. Ignore negative behaviors or give a firm "No!" in a dissaproving tone, and praise/ reward for positive behaviors. Also the use of repetition and teaching words to animals is very important. It teaches them to understand you and keeps them safe. Most important words will teach an animal to stay or come to you. Just like you would teach a child, to keep them safe from harm. Having an animal companion is a blessing, and I would love to see all the abandoned animals rescued and in proper homes, proper is the keyword. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve, Dirty Style

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man."  -Benjamin Franklin

New Year's Eve began at the very swanky 1149 East restaurant in Seekonk, MA (right on the East Providence, RI line - they also have another restaurant location in Warwick, RI). The chef prepared an amazing vegan menu just for me. It is definitely worth it to call ahead. Our server was charming and funny with a great personality. The atmosphere was very "New York City". It was clean, the bar was cool, and even the bathroom was super modern with flat screens and seating! Also, there was a band playing, so that was a lot of fun. We had lots of laughs with our friends, so with great company and a hip environment, 1149 East is a great place to kick off NYE or any other exciting evening out. Now, let's talk about the food! I know that is what you all really want to hear about!

To begin the meal you are brought a basket of fresh bread and a package of bread sticks. The ingredients were listed on the sticks, and are indeed vegan, so I dug right in. They went perfect with the red sangria pictured above. Now this is no ordinary sangria, this was like a mega sangria. The picture does not do it justice; the sangria was huge in a chalice-like glass! Great value!

The chef also prepared me an amazing salad as a starter. This was no ordinary salad, it had premium greens, roasted vegetables which included asparagus, mushrooms, onions, and the best tomatoes I have ever tasted. It was a huge salad and I ate most of it; that is great because although I am vegan, I am not a huge fan of salad. I am Dirty after all, and salad is very clean, you see. I would say that 1149 East makes a very naughty salad, in my opinion, and I couldn't have been happier.

For my entree I was served a veggie plate. The presentation was beautiful and the taste was even better. The grilled portobello mushroom was very hearty and steak-like, the sweet potato mash was delectable, and each roasted veggie had its own flavoring. It was a surprise with each bite and a flavor explosion in my mouth. Typically restaurants don't do a very good job of accommodating vegans, however 1149 East nailed it, with their brilliant chef who had all the right moves!

For dessert I was served fresh sorbet made right in house. It was mango flavor but they had two others that I could choose from. What a delight! I chose mango because after a meal, mango is said to aid in digestion.

I would definitely return to this restaurant and it definitely welcomes all walks of life. 1149 East proved to be very vegetarian friendly, and in a very gourmet way. Spot on!

We head back for cocktails, hor dourves, and to watch New Year's Rockin' Eve! Here are just a few ideas for party munchies.

-Veggie hot dogs cut into small pieces, wrapped with Pillsbury crescent rolls, and dipped in ketchup
-Tofutti sour cream mixed with a packet of vegan onion soup mix, to make yummy dip
-Chips and salsa or hummus

I served Strawberry Champagne Punch. To make this, all you need is a punch bowl, about 20oz sliced frozen strawberries that are thawed some, 2 bottles of dry champagne, and 1 liter of ginger ale. Mix it all up in a punch bowl and serve chilled! What an awesome flavor!

I hope everyone had a very nice holiday. Happy New Year! Here's to a fabulous and Dirty year ahead! For now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off.