Showing posts with label tester. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tester. Show all posts

Apr 20, 2012

tester - catch up

I am taking the opportunity to catch you all up on what I have been doing recently since it is so glaringly obvious that it isn't blogging!

As you know, last year I was testing for Tami's Grills Gone Vegan cookbook, which is yet to be released, but I keep hoping it will be out for summer grilling. From those delicious-days-gone-by, I tested dreamy recipes such as:

Tami's Grown Up Grilled Cheese

Seitan Salad with Nuts and Fruits
Grilled Leek Spread

And then Tami asked me to test for her sandwich cookbook, co-authored with Celine Steen, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day, which has a September 1 release date. I am so excited! This will be the definitive vegan lunch/sandwich book. So amazing:

Two Tomato Tango

Tofu Pomegranate Pockets

Sushi Wrap
Surprise! (Is anyone, really?) These two mad-cappers are at it again! This time creating a  whole grain baking book. Yes, again, I couldn't resist. My time is valuable and I wouldn't want to test anything that I didn't find worthy, or frankly, for any cookbook I wouldn't purchase myself, so when Tami asked if I was interested, well, for sure! 
Whole. Grain. Baking.
 I believe I have at least 4 cookbooks on my shelf on the subject, and not any one I go to as a resource. Either the book is not actually "whole grains" or it isn't vegan (and baking, as we know, is a science, not an art: difficult to ad-lib) or just plain sucks.

Needless to say I was intrigued. Turns out, these women are truly using whole grains: oat, barley, amaranth, rye, corn, wheat, name it, they use it. And, get this, it tastes great! Even my kids like the goodies I've made. 

Here are some teasers:

Wheat Wonder Crackers

Pizza Your Way

Olive Round
Delectable, right? And I haven't even gone down the sweet route, yet!

All this has been horrific on my hips, but I am not done, yet.

While testing for Tami and Celine last year, I was also doing a bit of cooking for Robin Robertson's up-coming slow-cooker cookbook. As an ubber-busy mom, this was another one of those cookbooks that I found a wealth of value in. I applied for testing when Robin posted the need on her blog and she accepted. This book, Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker, is slated for an October release. Just in time for the holiday onslaught, when we could all use a bit of a break after all the holiday preparation during the day; nice to have dinner ready. Well, that describes my entire year, excluding the holiday factor. Can you relate?  

Here are a few pics of Robin's recipes:

Root Vegetable Bisque

Seitan Posole

Lentil Chickpea Curry

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
That's right. All from a slow cooker.

Last month I got the opportunity to test for Robin again. This time a One-Dish cookbook. I have her first One-Dish Vegetarian Meals cookbook and love it. I figured this would be another cookbook I test for that wold benefit me more than the chef. 
Right again. 

Here are some of the pictures from this new book:

Potato Salad with Avocado Dressing

Jamaican Spinach and Red Bean Soup

Bulgur and White Bean Bake with Cabbage and Tomato

One-Dish meals mean there are no sides needed - it is a complete meal in one dish. Great idea and certainly a headache saver. 

There you have it. Hopefully some of these books will be available for you to get your hands on. In the meantime, rest assured that whatever cookbooks I receive as compensation for testing these recipes, will all be up for grabs in upcoming blog contests. 

Until next time, keep eating well. 

Jan 12, 2012

"grills gone vegan"

I have been doing a bit of testing for Tami Noyes' upcoming "Grills Gone Vegan" cookbook. Since Chicago has just had its first snowfall of the season today, what better way to look forward to the summer than by showing everyone the upcoming summer festivities we will have to enjoy: Grilling! Vegan Grilling!

This book will be a must have. This is the only decent vegan cookbook on the subject and I cannot even see summer grilling without out.

First up is Poblano Bruschetta. Lightly spicy.

Then Roasted Corn Chowder. Sweet with a little smokiness.

And finally, Pesto Tomatoes. She will also have a pasta option for this classic. 

And just because I care about your feelings and don't want to see anyone hurting for something that they just can't have yet, here is a not-such-a-tease recipe: Cajun Pot Pie from her American Vegan Kitchen cookbook - which I know you all have. 
If not, here is another reason to get it.


Aug 28, 2011

sandwiches everywhere!

Let's say you owned every vegan cookbook ever written. What vegan cookbook were you still without? How about one exclusively of sandwiches? As a mom, especially of homeschoolers who require lunch at home, a sandwich cookbook was something I was always on the lookout for. It seems that every day around 11:30 AM, my brain goes to mush as soon as the kids utter those magic words, "What's for lunch?" There are only so many peanut butter and jelly or processed veg-meat sandwiches that kids (or adults) can tolerate. It gets old.

When Tami Noyes, American Vegan Kitchen and the soon-to-come Grills Gone Vegan, asked me if I was interested in testing for her new - yes, another new! - cookbook, this one of sandwiches, I jumped at the chance. 
Sandwiches? Yeah, I'm in!

She is co-authoring this upcoming book with Celine Steen of 500 Vegan Recipes. They don't have a title for it, yet, but I'm sure they are working on it. 

To give you an idea of the variety of sandwiches that I have been bombarded with testing, here are a few:


Here is a unique one! This happens to be Kate's new favorite. Mushrooms and Mac-n-cheese are hardly ever invited to the barbecue party - until now; and, boy, is it one helluva bash!

California Roll

The California Roll has exactly what any health-conscious cook would love to put into a sandwich: quinoa, avocado, tomato and it is all tied together with a zingy dressing. No need to be Californian to love this simple, satisfying roll.

Jamaican Dip

As anyone knows who reads this blog, I am all about heat; this sandwich delivers and does not disappointing in that department. Think of a French Dip that detoured to the Islands while hijacking a boat load of habaneros.

Pittsburgh Steak 

Pittsburgh Steak is all about transforming the whole of Pennsylvania. The seitan is marinated, baked and topped. 


Wingwich. Just what it sounds like - wings on a sandwich - except it's seitan not chicken. Spicy on the bottom, with the cooling light slaw on the top. Great combination. 

Curried Lentil

Lentils and coconut are a match like no other. The coconut aroma tingles your nose right before the flavor hits your tongue. Creamy lentils over the crunchy toast. It was so easy to make and so good to eat.


I'm not sure if KFC ever made this since I wasn't a KFC fan, but if they did they couldn't have made it this good! There was silence at the dinner table as this sandwich was being devoured - nothing but a bunch of crunching and deep sighs of satisfaction.

And there you have a bit of what we've been eating for the past few months. 

After testing for Tami the last time, I thought I would be back cooking my own stuff as soon as Grills Gone Vegan was good to go - and then she sprang this on me. The only sandwich books on the market are vegetarian at best and heavily laden with animals at better. There really is a need for this and that need began with me. Tami and Celine are thinking way outside of the bun with this book and I was excited when they asked me to test for it.  Life was getting a little hectic at our house; it was great to have lunch off my hands for at least a little bit.


Jun 29, 2011

trio of appetizers

Tester Teaser

Let's take a mini-tour of Tami's Grills Gone Vegan appetizers. This should give you a great idea of the variety of grilling recipes in this upcoming book based solely on the appetizer section. As much of a teaser as appetizers are supposed to be, these next three previews should provide the same experience.

I just made this first recipe tonight, Lettuce Wraps, not more than a few hours ago. Don't let the simplicity of the name detract from the complex flavors those beautiful lettuce cups hold. Asian Style Cutlets are grilled, tossed with a special glaze and then gently packed into the crisp leaves with just the right amount of vegetables. As I told Tami when reviewing them, people will be fighting over the last one! Oh, and those Asian Cutlets - so much more than just for this recipe.

This next one I tested last week and is another favorite of mine: Polenta Stacks.
Not a polenta fan? After this recipe you will be. Tofu is marinated in Tami's Habanero Marinade, grilled and stacked on top of grilled polenta and tomato. A dollop of her sauce on top and you are all set to wow some guests. Habanero love.

This recipe, Stuffed Poblanos, I made a while ago, but the flavors still dance on my palate. 
The stuffing is amazing and that Avocado Sauce is worth its weight in gold. The combination is like taking a vegan vacation to Mexico. 

You won't need to pack your bags to eat this well - it'll all be available soon.
 I promise.

Jun 20, 2011

flatbread fun

Tester Teaser

Let's have more Tami tester pics. This time around, how about some Flatbread Fun? Tami has some insane bread recipes in her upcoming cookbook! These two top my all time fave's in it ... I think; there are SO many!

This first one is The Veg Wedge. The grilling comes out in full force in this recipe. Get the coals ready or have the gas tank full, it is loaded with grilled vegetables, smeared with Cracker Spread and glazed with a special sauce. To finish it, you slap this monster on the grill and let the bread develop an awesome crunch. Can you taste it, yet?

If you are in the mood for a lighter appetizer flatbread, you will want to dig into this masterpiece, Tomato and Arugula Flatbread. Again her Rosemary Flatbread is grilled but this time with arugula and then topped with a tomato salad and Horseradish Sauce. A little kick and a lot of flavor. Party in your mouth.

I certainly hope this book will be out soon; I almost feel bad showing you these teasers and then telling you you can't have them, yet. Soon, I hope!

Jun 16, 2011

tami's fajitas

Tester Teaser

I should really stop with the teasers, right? Nah.

Last night's dinner was totally awesome! I am such a fajita fan and whenever we find our way into a Mexican restaurant that doesn't happen to use chicken stock in their rice or lard in their refried beans, Fajitas is the dish I gravitate to. 

Great for me, but the kids are no Fajita fans. In fact, after being told what dinner was (as if there is no written menu on the fridge) - little facial twitches could be seen on my dear children's countenances. 

Everyone was in for a surprise; these little babies went faster than I could make them. For testing purposes, of course, I had to snag the last one. 

The seitan, from Tami's upcoming cookbook, Grills Gone Vegan, was perfect for this. The seitan was marinated in her Habanero Marinade, which tastes of habaneros and not the intense heat they are know for. After grilling with peppers and onions, topped with lettuce, avocado and a bit of Daiya, these were pure pockets of bliss.

Jun 15, 2011

cinnamon snail, BBQ portobello grillers, panzanella salad with tempeh


Since I haven't posted in a little while, I thought I would do three in one from Tami's Grills Gone Vegan testing extravaganza. Unfortunately, Blogger had my blog deleted for a little while and had me a quite nervous about it. Do the Word Press people have as much problems with their blogging servers? Blogger has many problems, times when I can't blog and now this blog deletion. I think I've had enough and I am seriously considering switching to Word Press.

Back to the food:

Can you picture a Cinnamon Roll as big as your dinner plate? 
Look here:

That is how big that Cinnamon Snail is. Don't get fooled by the name, this no small quiet, unassuming snail; this is a ginormous-feed-your-family-cinnamon roll. Divine! I love the ease and simplicity of this recipe. 

Next up is this saucy wonderfulness. BBQ Portobello Grillers. So good! If you are a mushroom fan, this is the recipe for you. You can use store-bought BBQ Sauce for this, but both Tami and I recommend you making her Simple BBQ Sauce, also in the book. It takes less time than buying it and costs a fraction with more than triple the taste-reward. Add some of her Creamy Cole Slaw and you are set. BBQ Perfection.

Last up is Panzanella Salad with Tempeh. Vegetables come here to soak up the summer. Tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, onions - plus other surprises marry in this flavorful, light (not drenched like most panzanella salads!) mingle of tastes. Summer on a plate.

So, there you have some teasers. Enjoy the pics!

May 21, 2011



I have been wanting to make Paella for a long, long time now. I have read Paella recipes and watched Food TV shows on how to make a Paella the best way. Still, vying to make it is not the same as making it. When I saw that one of Tami's tester recipes for her upcoming cookbook, Grills Gone Vegan, was a paella, I printed it out and made it the very next day.

Let me say that this is done just right.
From the flavor and texture of the rice, to the crust on the bottom of the dish, to the tofu that tops it, it is out of this world. And all that without a paella pan. For the longest time I thought I would have to buy one of those pans, and since I only buy kitchen items that have more than one function, the paella pan was not high on my list of need-to-buy, even if it was on my wish list.

Although she has many wonderful recipes for this book, this one was totally one of my favorite dishes. In fact, I kept helping myself to more, even though I knew I should stop.
Bad, but, oh, so good.
Have I mentioned how much I love testing for her? 

This is a perfect dinner party meal as well since it is so elegant and easy to prepare.

May 3, 2011

black bean burger and feta


Another of Tami's recipes from her upcoming cookbook - Grills Gone Vegan.

This is a Black Bean Burger. Don't think this is another of those homemade veggie bean burgers that is all mushy and really tastes homemade; nope! This one is meaty, firm, smoky and delicious.

I formed mine more in order of a big fat, meat burger - and boy, was it a mouthful! The kids were complaining a bit, but that is because they've never actually had a burger made of meat- not even a flabby, thin Mc'D's one, so this threw them for a loop.

David and I really enjoyed it, though, and the thickness was not a deterrent. This is a wonderful recipe. It is hard to imagine Tami topping her Incrediburger, but she's done it. Oh...and those buns are also a tester from her book. Very easy to make, whole wheat, Onion Buns. If bread is this easy to make, this delicious and still whole grain, why would we need to spend $5 on a package of buns?

I topped mine with my Feta Cheese. I've made this recipe before, but every time it has come out a bit firm. I made a mistake somewhere along the agar-tofu-way and they came out just like real feta! I have to figure out where I went right and get a recipe up. It was fantastic!

Apr 19, 2011

smoky buffalo tofu sandwich


Another tester recipe from Tami Noyes' new cookbook, Smoky Buffalo Tofu Sandwich. When I tell you this woman has some fabulous ideas, I really mean it. This recipe is made using a homemade smoke sauce that is out of this world. I can't divulge the intricacies, but it is unusual and wonderful, all uniquely at the same time.

The Sandwich uses either store-bought smoked tofu or pressed tofu, so get your Tofu Xpress ready. Along with this sandwich, the press is used for many of her recipes, so if you've bought one, it won't be unused in this book.  After pressing, she even had a recipe for smoking our own tofu.

The sandwich itself is creamy and dreamy and a little spicy. Slather this into a wrap, a pita or, like I did, between bread. No matter where you put it, it'll be great.

Apr 11, 2011

tunisian skewers with harissa sauce


Now that Tami Noyes of American Vegan Kitchen has finally come clean and announced her new cookbook, I can finally reveal that I have been a recipe tester for her for the past half year or so.

Her concept is a grilling cookbook and I have had the pleasure to be a part of making sure that the recipes that you all will indulge in soon will be as good as she intends them to be.

While I cannot divulge ingredients or recipes, I can let you in on the name of the dish and let you know how lucky you will be to own this book.

First off, I have to say that there is not a vegan/vegetarian grilling cookbook on the market of this caliber. I own the few odd vegetarian books that try their hand at grilling, but not like this. This IS the definitive grilling cookbook for vegans and vegetarians.

I am not going to blog about the other 50 recipes I've tested so far; I'll just jump in on the recipes I make as I go. I made this dish, Tunisian Skewers with Harissa Sauce and Lemon-Kissed Couscous, the other day and I could hardly keep myself from licking the plate. Not only are the recipes I've tried great, they are for the grill AND they are easy and quick.

This dish was no exception.