holiday humor

old saint patrick the brit / spinach tempeh burgers

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DSC_0227In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I will supply you with a green recipe – not just in color, but in healthy plant-powered goodness! But first, a little history on our good friend Pat. Did you know that he wasn’t even Irish? He was a Brit who was kidnapped and enslaved by Irish pagans, but apparently he came to like his captors and, when he escaped, vowed to return. Fast forward thirty years and old Pat had become a Christian, converting people left and right, and was ultimately responsible for converting that little island called Ireland to Catholicism. So in homage to this great non-Irishman, we drink copious amounts of alcohol, dance around with shamrocks on our heads and pretend to be Irish. God, I love holidays…

Now that you understand the meaning of Saint Patrick’s Day so well, why not show your Irish pride by whipping up some spinach tempeh burgers? Tempeh is made from fermented whole soybeans, and is one of the best ways to consume soy because the fermentation process breaks down some of the phytic acid found in unfermented soy (like tofu). This is beneficial for maximum nutrient absorption and healthy digestion, not to mention you’ll be getting a truckload of protein! Combined with brown rice, toasted sunflower seeds, and spinach and you’ll be satiated until that drunken 2am I-need-food-to-absorb-some-of-this-guinness attack.



DSC_0235Spinach Tempeh Burgers

1 T cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

1 package tempeh, crumbled (I recommend SoyBoy)

1 small onion, diced

3 T dried herb seasoning (I recommend Penzey’s Bouquet Garni, or a mixture of savory, rosemary, thyme, Turkish oregano, basil, dill weed, marjoram, sage and tarragon)

Pinch of chili powder

2 tsp garlic powder or 4 cloves minced garlic

Generous splash of white wine, any variety

1 tsp tamari

1/2 cup + stock (I recommend Imagine Foods No-Chicken Stock)

Pinch of smoked sea salt (optional, but delicious – I recommend alder smoked sea salt)

1 tsp arrowroot powder

2 cups packed baby spinach leaves

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Handful of nutritional yeast

3/4 cup short grain brown rice, cooked in 2 cups of stock

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds + 2 T, toasted

1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (to coat patties)

Add brown rice and stock to a saucepan, bring to a boil, then turn down flame and simmer for about 40 minutes. In a big saute pan (I use cast iron), heat oil over medium flame and add onions. Cook until soft, about 2 minutes, then stir in crumbled tempeh, chili powder, herbs, and garlic powder. Cook for another 4 minutes or so, until tempeh is beginning to brown. Now deglaze with a sizable splash of wine, carefully scraping up any pieces of tempeh that might have become stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add tamari, stock, and smoked sea salt, then stir to incorporate into mixture. Add more stock if needed (you want to almost submerge the mixture in liquid). Dump spinach on top of bubbling tempeh and lower the flame to a lively simmer. Once half of the liquid has been absorbed, stir and add nutritional yeast and cooked brown rice. Turn off flame and set aside.

Toast sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over low heat until brown and fragrant. Top with a sprinkle of sea salt. Pour 1/4 cup of seeds into a food processor along with tempeh mixture, and pulse about 20 times, or until mixture is combined but still has texture. Pour into a mixing bowl and add remaining sunflower seeds. Time permitting, allow burger mixture to chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Form into patties, then coat with flour. In a saute pan, heat 2 T refined coconut oil over a medium high flame. Add patties (depending on size of pan, you may have to do this in batches). Cook until brown and crispy on bottom side, then flip and repeat, until both sides are golden brown, about 4 minutes per side. To serve, toast some whole grain sprouted bread or lay atop a bed of greens with your favorite burger toppings! I recommend pickles, avocado and dijon mustard. Makes enough for 6-8 drunken unicorns guilty of using Saint Patty’s Day as an excuse to get inebriated.DSC_0246

guest post from The Little Red Journal / spiced pumpkin oat cookies

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Today I guest posted at The Little Red Journal! Click on the link or read it below “Dead Turkey & Butter Rolls: How to Survive Thanksgiving as a Vegan”. The blog’s founder, Kelsey Folmar, is a fellow vegan blogger I met through Twitter. Check out her guest post on Crumbs & yummy vegan recipe below. Happy Thanksgiving!

As the Autumn weather approached in the city of Austin, Texas, I began to crave something with pumpkin in it. Since going vegan in February 2012, I had been experimenting with different baked goods and tweaked different recipes to find a nice balance. A coworker who I had personally helped transition to veganism after I made my switch overheard me talking about my pumpkin craving and sent me a recipe. I modified it and have perfected the recipe below. Enjoy one or six of these cookies with a nice glass of almond milk!
Spiced Pumpkin Oat Cookies
yields 4 dozen

2 cans of whole pumpkin
2 tsp. cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. all spice
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar
1/2 bag dairy free chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1. Preheat oven to 350 and combine pumpkin and spices in a large bowl.
2. Stir in the sugar and chocolate chips.
3. Add in the rolled oats.
4. Drop small round balls of the dough onto a 9×13 with parchment paper.
5. Press down balls with a spoon.
6. Bake for 15 minutes.

 About Kelsey & The Little Red Journal
I am a journalism graduate in my mid-20s with a passion for writing, health, veganism, and spreading the knowledge about the benefits of a plant-based diet. I focus on posting interesting information regarding a plant-based diet, offer some insight to my lifestyle, document struggles, celebrate accomplishments and spread knowledge about the benefits of going plant-based. I’m an aspiring writer, blogger and minimalist enthusiast and have been vegan since February 2012.
My guest blog post! 
“Dead turkey & butter rolls…how to survive Thanksgiving as a vegan”


Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends and be thankful for all that we have. It’s also a time to eat copious amounts of dead turkey. This can be a problem for those of us vegans who choose to abstain from buying or consuming animal products, not just for the obvious reasons, but because the Thanksgiving meal is such an intimate affair. If you don’t eat your grandmother’s 3,000 year old recipe for stuffing or your aunt’s infamous butter rolls, you risk ruining the entire celebration. Translation: evil stares from every member of your family while sitting at the dinner table, pursed lips and shakes of the head at your blatant display of vegan tofurkey, hushed whispering in the kitchen about your protein deficiency and residual teen angst from over a decade ago, and eventual shunning from post dinner drinks and board games. Your instinct might make you want to throw your tofurkey across the table while yelling about the inhumane slaughtering of turkeys, but trust me, that will only alienate you further and confirm their suspicions that your anger is due to malnutrition. Instead, try to see your lifestyle from their perspective, and realize that your veganism is forcing them to question how they think about food, animals, and their health. Even if you don’t bring up animal rights or vegan nutrition at the dinner table, your plate will speak volumes. I always find that the less I say about my diet, the more I draw people in. So instead of ranting about the murdered bird on their plate, calmly eat your tempeh sausage collard wraps and wait for them to come to you. Food is as personal as religion and politics. If you tread lightly, you’ll survive the holidays and perhaps even tempt others to explore a vegan lifestyle!

In addition, if you’re spending Thanksgiving at a family member’s or friend’s home, call ahead and tell the host that you’ll bring a few vegan dishes, and not to stress about cooking something special for you. This will take a lot of stress off of your host and will eliminate the probability of your diet becoming a huge inconvenience. In fact, cook my vegan tempeh sausage collard wraps and everyone will be jealous of your yummy plate! This recipe is vegan, gluten free, nightshade free, and free of processed sugars!


Tempeh Sausage Collard Wraps with Cranberry Sauce & Avocado


1 package tempeh, crumbled (I recommend SoyBoy Five Grain Tempeh)

2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 tbs poultry seasoning 

3/4 cup stock (I recommend No-Chicken Broth)

2 tbs mirin or white wine

1 tbs nutritional yeast

1 tsp tamari or shoyu

2 large collard leaves, stems removed (you should have 4 wraps)

1 avocado, sliced

1 tbs cranberry sauce (see recipe below) 

Sea salt & fresh black pepper to taste


In a sauté pan, heat oil on a medium flame. Once hot, add crumbled tempeh and cook without stirring for 3 minutes, or until tempeh begins to brown. Add poultry seasoning and deglaze with mirin, scraping up any stuck pieces of tempeh from the pan using a wooden spoon. Pour in the stock, tamari/shoyu, and nutritional yeast, and allow to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Meanwhile, steam collard wraps in another pan with salted boiling water for 1-2 minutes. To assemble wraps, place a few slices of avocado, a scoop of tempeh sausage, and a dollop of cranberry sauce on the upper third of a collard wrap. Slowly roll the top of the collard over the mixture and continue until completely wrapped. Optional: serve over forbidden rice or sweet potatoes. Makes 4 wraps. 



Festive Cranberry Sauce


1 bag fresh or frozen cranberries (if frozen, allow to thaw in the fridge for a few hours before using)

1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup coconut nectar or natural sweetener of choice (I recommend Coconut Secret’s Coconut Nectar)

Pinch each of nutmeg & cinnamon


In a saucepan, bring water and orange juice to a boil. Add cranberries and return to a boil, then pour in coconut nectar and spices. Simmer, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or until berries burst open. Makes about 2 cups of sauce. 


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Halloween is a strange holiday. Actually, it isn’t even a holiday; it’s an excuse to dress like a hooker and eat lots of sugar, all in the name of ??? Yea…weird. The reason I’m hating on halloween is because I had no plans so it’s convenient to pull the “I didn’t want to participate” line.
Halloween has always been a bit of a crapshoot in our family. When we were little, halloween always seemed to sneak up on us so quickly that we were left with 24 hours to come up with a costume. This usually limited our options to clothing already in our house (translation: mom and dad’s clothes & some reject costumes from earlier years). My mom’s favorite last minute costume? Gypsy. Going as a gypsy was easy because all we had to do was wear lots of ratty looking clothing and wear too much makeup. But after more than 3 appearances as a gypsy…we had to draw the line. Second place outfit? The infamous black cat. Black outfit (teenager = miniskirt, make-up, heels & the obligatory angst. Innocent child = Laura Ashley jumper, mary janes, and furry gloves), a set of black, pointy ears and black eyeliner whiskers. Third place outfit? Witch. I pulled this one a lot, but I never had black robes so I just wore one of my mom’s black dresses and put on the crooked pointy hat that was always stuffed in our “dress up” chest. The dress up chest was full of the most fabulously random things: grass skirts, hot pink tutus, a witch’s hat, a bizarre unitard with a sewn on squirrel tail (it was for the play Chicken Little. I was a squirrel, which wasn’t a character in the play, but after they cast me as a daisy, I asked if I could be a squirrel instead. I only had 1 line so they didn’t care if I was a rodent or a flower), a red cape with faux white fur fringe (when needing to be a king naturally), several sparkling crowns (worn by us and regrettably, by our dogs), and a beautiful egyptian head piece that we always wanted to wear but never had the right outfit for. We tried doing the whole “trick-or-treating in your own neighborhood” thing, but the houses were too spread out, so our mom drove us from house to house and needless to say, many of the doors we knocked on either never opened or opened to a very shocked resident (and it wasn’t because of our smashing costumes). We eventually started doing trick-or-treating with our friends in more populated areas, which was great. But the funny thing is, you collect all this candy, go home, stuff your face, and feel totally nuts for the rest of the night and wake up the next morning to find your candy stash mysteriously missing. You ask your mom and she looks down at you with that deceitful innocence while making breakfast, and then quickly changes the subject or says something like, “didn’t you eat it all?”
No, you say to yourself, I most certainly did not, and I was fully intending to go crazy again tonight, dress up as an egyptian king and sing songs from The Sound of Music at the top of my lungs! (this is about the time you realize why your mother would do such a horrible thing to you…)