Friday, March 31, 2006

Boca Spicy Chik'n Sandwich

Today's lunchbox is pretty much full of vegan junk-food, but hey it's Friday. To start off, I've got a Boca Spicy Chik'n Pattie on a bun with a couple of pickles and then some Vegenaise in the little blue dressing container. I took the top bun off of the sandwich so you could see the Chik'n Pattie and I put the Vegenaise in the separate container so that my bun wouldn't get all soggy. These Boca Chik'n Patties are extremely good. I probably go through a box or two a week because I have them for quick dinners quite often. They are also nice because they are plainly labeled right on the box, VEGAN. I wish everybody did that. Do be careful though when buying Boca products because a lot of them, even some of their fake chicken patties are NOT VEGAN. But it looks like, on their website, that they are making them all vegan now. It seems like the stores around here have a mix of the new ones, which are vegan, mixed in with some older stock which, if you read the label, are NOT VEGAN. You really have to read the labels on these things.

I didn't want to pack fries or chips again so I decided to go with onion rings. Those are just some cheap Kroger brand frozen onion rings that I tossed into the toaster oven. Again, I read the ingredients carefully, comparing the one or two unknown things to my "vegan no-no" list, and they were fine. I feel bad that some people are allergic to some types of food, but those bold comments at the bottom of an ingredient list where it says contains: wheat and tells you right off the bat if there are eggs or dairy in the product come in awful handy. Anyway, there were no animal products in these onion rings (I have seen several other brands which do contain dairy, but these did not) and they are quite tasty.

I had just a little bit of broccoli slaw left over from where I made it the other day. I went ahead and put that in today's lunch just to get rid of it. Well, it kinda' goes with a "chicken" sandwich anyway.

For dessert, I cooked some brownies from a recipe that I found over at the PPK. They were a little bit of work, but worth it I guess, if you like brownies. They might be a little bit more "cakey" than I would like, but really, is there such a thing as a bad brownie? I think not.

Well, I guess that does it for my second week of posting. As usual, it was fun and I look forward to doing it all again next week. I have been throwing some ideas around in my head for some special stuff that I might do this weekend for the blog. Who knows. There may be some extra stuff on here when you check back in on Monday. I guess it depends on how motivated I am this weekend, and how long it takes me to get the yard into some kind of decent shape. The weather is beautiful here in Tennessee right now. I hope it's nice where you are. Have a great weekend and I'll see you on Monday! (if not before)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Chik'n & Tempeh Sausage Jambalaya

Okay, today's lunch may not photograph the best, but it is definitely tasty. I made Chik'n & Tempeh Sausage Jambalaya by first cooking up a packet of Jambalaya mix that I found at the grocery store. It's basically just a packet of rice and various spices. You just mix it with water and boil it on the stove. I did, however, read the ingredient list, which was short, to make sure that there wasn't any dehydrated chicken broth or beef stock or anything like that in it. After the mix was all cooked up, I tossed in a bag of Morningstar Farms Meal Starters Chik'n Strips (they are one of the few things that Morningstar Farms has that IS vegan) and a bunch of the Tempeh Sausage Crumbles from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. The Tempeh Sausage Crumbles are so yummy. They taste just like sausage and I always keep some made up and stored in the freezer to use in dishes like this and on pizza.

I threw in some more VwaV Herbed Roasted Potatoes in the green container. I just can't get enough of these things. I love potatoes anyway, and these are really good. They are another thing I like to keep made up and stored in the fridge because they reheat so well.

Some steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots) and some grapes help balance out the lunch and make it, at least, a little bit healthy. Seems like a lot of people think that being a vegan means that you automatically eat really healthy, and therefore really boring, meals. HA! Well, it is, of course, healthier than eating fat and cholesterol-laden animal flesh and animal products, but you can still be very naughty when eating vegan. I mean, HEY! Fritos are vegan. Who knew?

Well, that's lunch for Thursday. Thanks to everybody who checks in to see what I am up to. I hope someone, somewhere, finds some inspiration in all of this. And if you are on the fence, thinking about ordering one of these cool lunchboxes, go ahead and do it. They are an excellent investment and you will not regret it. Seeing it for the first time on Vegan Lunch Box is what got me all fired up about it and it definitely DOES help me eat lunch a whole lot better and a whole lot cheaper. Have a great day and I'll see you right back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Sunshine Burger & Fries

Today's lunchbox contains one of my favorite storebought veggie burgers, the Sunshine Burger. The only place I can find them where I live is at the health food store. They are in the freezer section and come packaged 3 to a box. They are a little more expensive than most veggie burgers, in my opinion, but they are also quite different than most veggie burgers. I first heard about these during a Vegan Freak podcast when they were speaking with a girl who had thrown a veggie burger tasting cookout and she cooked like 9 different types of veggie burgers for people to try. Well, the fact that the Sunshine Burger wasn't anyone's favorite, except HERS, plus the fact that Bob & Jenna referred to it as "that green veggie burger" got my attention. Of course, I was interested in trying it.

I purchased some shortly thereafter and I will admit, at first I didn't like it. But by the time I had gone through all 3 in the box I LOVED THEM. The only way that I can think to describe the flavor is maybe like what you would get if you squeezed a 20 pound bag of sunflower seeds down into a small pattie. They are full of sunflower seeds, and that is the dominant taste, which I happen to love. But I couldn't imagine eating them with any lettuce, tomato or condiments on them. I just like them plain. If you are interested in trying something new, something that's not just a typical old veggie burger, you might want to check out Sunshine Burgers. I think they are yummy.

Up top I've got some Ore-Ida French Fries. I just popped them in the toaster oven and baked them. I am trying to cut back on my sodium intake, and increase my potassium, so I sprinkled the fries with NO-SALT (it's potassium chloride instead of sodium chloride). I actually like the taste of the stuff better than regular table salt.

I had some broccoli in the fridge that was on it last legs so I chopped off the big tough stalks and ran them through the Cuisinart, using the shredding blade, and then made some yummy broccoli slaw out of it by adding some carrots, some pepper and some dressing that you can whip up really quick by just combining equal parts of Vegenaise and sugar. I mixed 4 Tbsp of each to make enough for the really small batch of slaw I was making. It's really delicious, and a great way to get rid of big broccoli stalks. In fact, it's better than slaw made from cabbage. YUM!

And finally, just in case there isn't enough potassium on my french fries, I threw in a Banana Cookie Larabar. There's a whole banana crammed into those two little squares, along with some dates and cashews. I just love Larabars and I always try to keep some on hand at home for times when I don't have anything else really handy to throw in the lunchbox for dessert.

Well, I guess that's lunch for today. Thanks for checking in and I will see you tomorrow. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Out to Lunch @ COOTIE BROWN'S

I had to leave my lunchbox at home today because there were plans at work for a small group of us to all go out to lunch today and try out this new Thai place that recently opened. Well, I was all excited about it and we all went there only to discover that they are closed on Tuesday! Huh? So, we all jumped back into our cars and hopped over to Cootie Brown's. It's one of my most favorite restaurants because they actually have some delicious vegetarian, and even vegan, choices. It's a locally owned restaurant (actually there are two of them) and it features really off-the-wall decor, outdoor dining and a super delicious menu. In a way, I was glad we ended up going there because it is one of my favorite places to eat. I guess we'll have to save the Thai place for another week.

I ended up ordering something that I had not eaten there before. I ordered the grilled vegetable sandwich. It comes with cheese and basil pesto mayo on it by default, but leaving those two things off makes it vegan. I moved some of the bread out of the way in the picture so you can see all of the vegetables on there. There were big slices of zucchini, squash, roasted red peppers and fresh spinach. It all gets coated with olive oil and garlic and then grilled on a real grill. You can taste the smoke! I expected it to be good, but it was better than good. It was DELICIOUS! It is definitely my new favorite thing to eat there.

The sandwich came with their spiral cut fries on the side. They are vegan because they are just potatoes and they fry them in vegetable oil in their own fryer dedicated to just making these fries so that they don't get any unwanted flavors sneaking in there. If I had wanted to be really good, I could have replaced the fries with a salad for a small additional charge (and their salads are very good), but I felt like being a little bit bad for lunch today.

So eating vegan at Cootie Brown's is both easy and delicious. I definitely recommend it if you ever find yourself in Tennessee in Kingsport or Johnson City. I must admit though, I missed my lunchbox today because I have already gotten used to packing it and enjoying those lunches every day. Oh well, it'll be back with me tomorrow and we'll pick up right where we left off. Thanks for peeking in today and have a GREAT evening! See you Wednesday.

Monday, March 27, 2006

General Tao's Tofu

Today's lunch has an Asian theme with a recipe that I found over at Vegweb. General Tao's Tofu is just like the chicken version you find in Chinese restaurants, except the poor little dead chicken is replaced with yummy tofu. I made this once before and fried the tofu in corn starch, like the recipe says, but I later decided I would have liked it better if I just steamed the tofu, so that's what I did this time. I did, however, freeze and thaw my tofu to give it a little meatier texture. My actual lunch looks a little different from the photo because I wanted the pic to show that I had rice there under the tofu. After I took the picture I filled the container up with more sauce so I would have plenty to share with that broccoli in the container next door.

The broccoli was just frozen broccoli from a bag which I dumped into some Corningware and sprayed with a little canola oil and sprinkled with garlic salt and some dehydrated onions. Then I just covered it and microwaved it until it was all nice and steamed.

The carrots came from a can. I just poured them into a small pot and heated them up with 1/2 cup of brown sugar stirred into their liquid. This made them nice and sweet, like the ones you get at a Japanese restaurant. YUM!

Since I was having an Asian inspired lunch today, I thought something with ginger in it would be good for dessert, so I made Sparkled Ginger Cookies from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. You didn't really think I was going to go a day without mentioning it did you? They are EXCELLENT!

Well, I guess that's about it for today's post. I'm not real happy with the picture, because it doesn't show the sauce enough (I don't think you can even see a green onion in the picture). But the sauce is yummy, and I did pour a bunch more of it on after I took the picture. So if you like this type of recipe, I can definitely recommend the one from over at Vegweb. See everyone tomorrow. Have a great day!

Friday, March 24, 2006


Well, I was thinking about going out to eat lunch today, but I started thinking last night about how much fun I have had this week packing healthy vegan lunches for myself, and how much money I have saved by not eating out, and I decided I would rather just go ahead and pack my own lunch rather than go out and have to bug the daylights out of a waiter or cook somewhere quizzing them on every single ingredient in my meal.

Today, I've got one of my favorite things in the world to eat, spaghetti. For the sauce I just quartered and sliced an onion, cooked it in some olive oil in a pan for about 10 minutes, dumped in a can of storebought spaghetti sauce (checked the label to make sure they didn't put any Romano cheese or anything like that in it), and then added a whole container of fresh sliced mushrooms from the grocery store.

I like salad with spaghetti, so I threw one in. I still need to get to the store and buy some new salad dressing, so I ended up making my own again by putting 1 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar, and about 4 drops of sesame oil in the little blue plastic container. It's good.

I made some garlic toast by spreading some Smart Balance Light on some wheat bread, sprinkled with garlic salt, basil and oregano and then toasted it in the oven. I had to cut the bread down in size with a pizza cutter to get it to fit into the little container. There are actually three small slices of garlic toast stacked in that little container.

There was a small space left beside the salad dressing, so I threw in a Chocolate Chip Cookie (from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz) that I had made earlier in the week. My cookie stash is just about gone and I will need to make some more this weekend if I want to have any for lunch next week.

Well, I guess that's it. That was my first week of posting my vegan lunches that I pack for work. It was very fun doing it. Hopefully it was a little fun reading it. I will definitely be back on Monday to do it all over again. Thank you for stopping by and I will see you next week. Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches

I admitted earlier that I missed bologna sandwiches from my pregan life. Well, today for lunch, I am having a vegan version of another one of my favorite lunchtime staples, the old tuna salad sandwich. Of course, there is no tuna or mayo in these, but they taste just like tuna salad sandwiches, maybe even better. Chickpea-Hijiki Salad Sammiches are yet another recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. It contains pretty much the same thing as any old tuna salad, but the nasty mayo is replaced with yummy Vegenaise and the dead animal is replaced with Hijiki (a dried seaweed that you can most likely find at your local health food store or Asian market). The end result is a sandwich that is more colorful, healthier, and tastier than a regular old tuna salad sandwich. Plus, it's cruelty-free. You can't beat that.

I wanted some potato chips to go along with my sandwich, but instead of running to the store and buying some, I just made some. Honestly, there's really no reason to spend money on potato chips when you can whip some up at home in the microwave in 5 minutes. Yes, you really can make brown and crispy potato chips in the microwave. Just spray a plate with canola oil, slice a potato (preferably with a mandolin slicer), arrange the slices on the plate, spray them with canola oil again, sprinkle on a little salt (or NO-SALT) or any other spices or flavorings you might like, and then just nuke them in the microwave. Since all microwaves vary in the amount of power they have, you will have to watch them the first few times to see how long it takes to cook them. I use a small, cheap microwave (not much power) and set the timer to 5:55 and it works well. Just cook them until they are brown and crispy. They cost basically NOTHING to make, and they taste better than storebought. The only problem arises when you try to make a large quantity of them to pack in lunches or something. I seem to eat them all as soon as they come out of the oven so it's hard for me to accumulate any amount to actually pack for lunch.

I threw in some more grapes. I had a few the other day, but I filled the container up this time. I need to finish using those little guys up before they go bad in the fridge. It shouldn't be too difficult because they are quite tasty.

I skimped on dessert today and just packed myself an Apple Pie Larabar. These things are so good. Looking at the picture now, it doesn't look like much for dessert, but that little baby has 190 calories, so it's more than enough. If you're not familiar with Larabars, they are bars that contain only 2-5 raw food ingredients. No salt, no sugar, no processing, no nothing... just food. They are quite tasty, but not cheap. It would be quite simple to make your own, and that's on my list of things to do one of these days, along with world peace.

I'm still kinda' planning on going out for lunch tomorrow, but who knows, I might change my mind and pack something. I guess I'll just wait and see what happens. Thanks for peeking in today. See you on Friday!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Vegan Chili

Today for lunch, I've got some vegan chili that I made by cooking a chopped onion in a skillet on medium heat for about ten minutes, until translucent, and then dumping in a can of kidney beans, a can of hot chili beans and a can of diced tomatoes. I then added two packs, yes two packs (I like a lot of flavor in them) of storebought chili mix (the powdered stuff that comes in a little envelope). I just double-checked the ingredients on the chili mix to make sure they hadn't snuck in any beef fat, whey or other animal products. It was clean.

Up top are two of my favorite recipes from my favorite cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. I realize that I have mentioned this cookbook every single day, but I will probably continue to do so because, I swear, I have yet to make anything from this book that has not been delicious. That big green container in my lunch today is proof of that, because if you had told me a year ago that I would be eating brussel sprouts and liking them, I would have told you that you were insane. Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Toasted Garlic are YUMMY! I didn't know that brussel sprouts could taste like this. Apparently, roasting the little devils does something magical to them. They are good, and I will be eating a bunch of them for lunch today.

The Herbed Roasted Potatoes are also from VwaV. I make these all the time, because I love potatoes with rosemary, and I almost always have some hanging out in the fridge so they are easy to throw into a lunch whenever I need something else to fill the lunchbox up.

And finally, the little yellow container holds some yummy Chocolate Bomb Pudding Cake. It's super-duper delicious (probably the best chocolate cake that I have ever had) and super-easy to make. I mean, who knew that you could throw a bunch of stuff together in a cake pan and basically bake a cake which makes it own icing? Of course, it's another recipe from Isa.

Coming up soon, I will be doing my first lunch where I venture out and eat lunch at a restaurant. I will try to document it and give pointers on how I decide what a vegan could possibly eat for lunch at a particular restaurant (hopefully something more than just salad). I will also, of course, include a picture of the food so you can see what I had. I will definitely be eating out next week at a new local Thai place that opened up, but I might also hit a place Friday which is one of my favorites. I will just let that be a surprise. See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

"Bologna" Sammiches

Okay, I will admit it. I used to love bologna sandwiches back when I was a carnivore. When becoming vegan, I thought it was one of those nasty & trashy food things I was going to have to give up. WRONG! Luckily, there is Light Life Bologna. It's vegan, it tastes just like bologna, and it's healthier for you. Heck, even if you do eat meat, you probably shouldn't even be eating bologna. Do you know what all they put in there? ACK! Anyway, slap about three pieces of that on some wheat bread and spread on a little Vegenaise and you are good to go with a lunchtime classic.

I threw in a little salad to try and up the "healthiness" factor. It's just some salad mix, a few carrot shreds, some chickpeas and some shredded vegan soy cheddar "cheese" that I need to get rid of. The stuff is really not that good, but shredded really fine it's OK on a salad or something like that. I was out of dressing so I had to whip some up in the little blue container with olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a few drops of sesame oil. There was a little space left there beside the dressing so I popped in a few grapes for a mid-morning snack.

And for dessert I have some yummy Chocolate Chip Cookies, again from my favorite cookbook, Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Honestly people, these are the best chocolate chip cookies you have ever had. I altered the recipe just a little bit and threw in 1/2 cup of walnuts. YUM!

It was kind of a plain lunch today, nothing fancy. It actually contains a lot of things from the fridge that I am needing to get rid of before they go bad on me. So that was the main reason for packing these items, well, except for the cookies, I made them special. Honestly though, I can't think of many things I would rather have for lunch than a "bologna" sandwich with "mayo" on it. And it's all the better because my sandwich is cruelty-free. See you tomorrow.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Real Country Cooking

Okay, here it is, my first vegan lunch packed in my new Laptop Lunchbox. The funny thing about this lunch is that it is something that I would not have touched with a 10-foot pole when I was younger (I hated all this stuff), but of course I love it now. The lunchbox is great too. I was worried that it might be too small to hold a lunch that would feed a hungry adult, but it holds plenty. I mean, sure, if the containers were larger you could cram more food in, but they are the perfect size, in my opinion. They provide you with good portion control.

Today's lunch is a mix of Pinto Beans and Great Northern Beans. All that's required there is to open a couple of cans of beans and dump them in a pot and heat them up. EASY! Up top are some yummy Herbed Roasted Potatoes from my favorite cookbook in the whole world, Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. Collard Greens and a Vegan Cornbread Muffin complete the box. These cornbread muffins, by the way, are very good. You don't need a stinkin' egg to make cornbread!

There was no room for dessert today in the box, but I assume there will be no room left in me for dessert either as soon as I finish eating all of this. Hey, this was my first time posting my lunch online and it was fun. Now all I have to do is figure out what I'm going to eat tomorrow... See you then.