Oct 1, 2015

"vegan-ease" + giveaway

It is the first official day after mofo and to fill the gaping hole that the end of the blogging month brings, I am so excited to be taking part in Laura Theodore's blog tour for her brand-new cookbook, Vegan-ease (Amazon, B&N).

For those that are not familiar with Laura, she is the Jazzy Vegetarian on Public Television, which is currently in its fifth season of bringing easy, delicious vegan cooking to tv-land. Laura is not only a chef, an author, a television personality, a fabulous singer (more goodies on that one below!), but she also hosts a radio show!

I can hardly keep up with the little I do, it is a wonder how Laura manages all that and has any time left over! Well, maybe it's because she makes easy vegan meals! This is her third cookbook, and if you have her other two, you will know that all her recipes are easy and delicious. So, what makes this one different?

Besides the new recipes, new menu plans and new tips, Laura has broken the book into three ease factors, simply denoted as 1, 2, or 3. The lower the number, the easier it is to make and less time it takes in the kitchen.

Although I had heard Laura on radio and got to see her show, I first officially "met" her when she interviewed me (a complete unknown) on her radio show. While I stumbled and stepped all over her words, she was simply graceful and gracious, putting me at ease.

Laura is just as caring and thoughtful with the recipes she creates for the home cook, as her book is full of easy to prepare, healthy and utterly delicious meals, treats and sips.

Besides being gorgeous, full-colored, hardcover, the book is bursting with photos, even some from Annie Oliverio. This book is broken into three parts with the bulk of the book in the second part, The Recipes.

The recipes are further categorized into Appetizers and Beverages, Breakfasts, Quick Breads, Soups, Salads, Pizzas, Mains, Sides, Desserts, Fancy Desserts and Holiday Recipes. So, yeah, you've got everything in this book.

Plus there are the menus! And I love menus! Laura provides 12 different menus.

Since I am such a sucker for menus, I decided to forge right on ahead and see just how easy Laura's recipes are. I chose to follow the Merry Breakfast Buffet, since that is a season we will be falling into very soon.

I did change the option up a bit, because I wanted to try the Spinach-Tomato Vegan Omelet (page 47). Laura promised that this is the definitive vegan omelet. I'm game, I thought. Bring on the magical vegan omelet.

Other than that switch and that we skipped the Easy Rich Hot Chocolate, for reasons having nothing to do with the recipe (it is actually very easy and looks exactly as described - rich), I made the entire menu (almost) as written.

Starting with baked goods, I made the Cranberry Christmas Coffee Cake, but I could not for the life of me find cranberries - fresh or frozen, so I decided on blueberries, thawed and lightly drained. This cake is made with whole wheat flour (as Laura keeps close to whole foods and healthy cooking) and I tell you honestly, it was completely delicious!

Moist and sweet - but not overtly sweet - it hit the spot at the end of our "buffet." It was done about 15 minutes before the recipe indicated, but honestly, once you start swapping things in a recipe, you have to be a bit more careful with timing and results. It just goes to show that these recipes are flexible - even the baked goods (although you should take much more care when messing with baked things as they are more chemistry than cooking.)

On the top, going clockwise is Tempeh Sticks, Spicy Baked Home Fries, Spinach and Tomato Vegan Omelet and Sunshine Salad. for up close inspection, the bottom photos are Sunshine Salad and Tempeh Sticks.

Everything was delicious! And,as the book claims, EASY! Even this complete menu, with 5 dishes (6 with the hot chocolate, which would have taken me another 5 to 8 minutes to make), was a snap to prepare.

Let's discuss that omelet.

She kept it 100. The woman spoke true and this here is the Vegan Omelet that I have been waiting for;  Ms. Theodore has broken the code and she brings to us this really, truly, amazing omelet. I have been making my Fried Vegan Omelet for years (which is more of an ode to my husband's childhood fried egg sandwiches), but this is light and fluffy and, with the addition of black salt, is completely to die for!

I've prattled on enough about the dishes I made; it's your turn. Laura is sharing a recipe for you to make. This is the Hungry Guy Burger and it looks as though it will even feed a hungry girl!

Before you dive into the kitchen, Laura has also graciously allowed me to giveaway an autographed copy of Vegan-ease AND one of Laura's Jazzy CD's. The contest is open to US residents and will end Monday, October 12, midnight.

To be eligible to win you must be following this blog via email or RSS feed (link).

Photo by Annie Oliverio

“Hungry Guy” Burgers
Makes 6 burgers / Ease Factor 1      

My husband always complained that I did not make our veggie burgers BIG enough! So the “Hungry Guy” Burger was born. Packed with hearty black beans, spicy salsa and rolled oats, these five-ingredient wonders are filling and super-quick to prepare. Now everyone’s happy!

1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
2⁄3 cup plus 2 heaping tablespoons prepared salsa, plus more as needed (see note)
3 slices whole-grain bread, torn into chunks
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
2⁄3 cup rolled oats

      Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.
Put the black beans and salsa in a medium-sized bowl and mash using a potato masher or large fork until well combined. Put the bread chunks and cumin in a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Add the bread crumbs to the black bean mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the rolled oats and mix to combine. If the mixture seems dry, stir in another heaping tablespoon of salsa and mix to combine.
Scoop up a generous 1⁄2 cup of the black bean mixture and put it on the prepared pan. Form it into a burger, shaping it with clean hands, then flattening it slightly. Continue in this manner to make five more burgers (see note). Bake for 20 minutes. Flip the burgers and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden.

Chef’s Notes
- You may use mild, medium or hot salsa in this recipe.
-  Once formed, the burgers may be covered and refrigerated for 2 to 6 hours before cooking. Add 5 to 7 minutes to the baking time.

Recipe from Laura Theodore's Vegan-Ease: An Easy Guide to Enjoying a Plant-Based Diet © Laura Theodore (Jazzy Vegetarian, LLC 2015), reprinted by permission. Photo courtesy of Annie Oliverio.

Amount per serving, based on 6 servings/burgers:  170 Calories; 2g Fat; 0g Saturated fat; 10g Protein; 241mg Sodium; 30g Total Carbohydrate; 1g Sugars; 8g Fiber 

To be eligible to win you must be following this blog via email or RSS feed (link).

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  1. Another great giveaway! YAY! I entered!

  2. I love watching the Jazzy Vegan and the recipes sound wonderful. I would love to win!!

  3. I would love to win this. I love the Jazzy Vegetarian!

  4. This is awesome! Thank you for the chance. :)


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