Everyday Vegan Eats Review and Contest!

Outside of my own books, this is the one that I anticipated the most this year. Zsu has tested for my solo and joint projects and I’ve gotten to know her and her cooking style. I also know her as a friend. With full disclosure, I  received this review copy of Everyday Vegan Eats from the publisher, and the publisher is also offering a copy to one of you, US shipping only, please! With that out of the way, let’s talk about the book!

Zsu knows her way around a kitchen. She cooks for a family *every day* and has a great read on what works for busy days, and for those sometimes too-discerning kids’ palates.  The book opens with a pantry primer and a terrific explanation of some important cooking techniques. The Basics chapter is just that, and is packed with useful recipes for broths, sauces, and protein treatments. All this information lays a wonderful groundwork for the recipes to come.

The recipe chapters include: Soups, Sandwiches, Salads, Everyday Mains, Pasta and Grains, Casseroles, Sides and Snacks, Breakfast and Brunch, Desserts and Bakery. In keeping with Zsu’s practical approach to cooking, the recipes are straight ahead, down to earth, and written in an easy to follow style. You’ll find classic comfort food favorites in every chapter, as well as a few throwbacks to Zsu’s heritage, such as Mama’s Hungarian Bean Soup. If you’ve been searching for the perfect _____________ (fill in the blank with something you grew up eating all the time), chances are great you’ll find it here.

The first recipe we tried were the Corn Muffins. The corn is blended with the milk, spreading the sweet flavor throughout the muffins. I’d describe them more, but Zsu’s note on them nails it.  I was surprised there was no butter in the batter. They’re that good. I’m happy to be able to share the recipe with you.

Corn Muffins
Makes 10 muffins

These cornbread muffins do not crumble. They are light and buttery and taste delightfully of corn, as any cornbread should. Serve these for breakfast with maple syrup or with chili, slathered with a little vegan butter. These are equally good sweet or savory. If desired, you can substitute whole-wheat pastry flour for the unbleached all-purpose flour. Use soy-free vegan butter and milk to make these muffins soy free.

3 tablespoons vegan butter, as needed
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed if frozen
1 cup plain unsweetened vegan milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup medium-grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Prepare a 12-muffin tin by generously greasing 10 of the tins with vegan butter.
Combine the thawed corn, milk, vinegar, sugar, and applesauce in a blender. Blend for 10 seconds to break up the corn kernels. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, and salt. Sift in the baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and add the milk mixture. Fold together gently to combine; do not overwork the batter.
Transfer 1/4 cup batter to each of the 10 buttered muffin tins. Bake until they are light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin in the middle tin comes out clean, about 15 minutes.  Cool the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the muffins to the rack and continue to cool them for 5 more minutes before serving.

From Everyday Vegan Eats by Zsu Dever. ©2014 Zsu Dever. Used by permission from Vegan Heritage Press.

Another recipe we tried was the Baked Macaroni and Cheese. I have a long history with mac and cheese. My dad traveled a lot when we were kids, and when he did, we almost always had mac and cheese. My brother and sister loved it as much as I did, and my dad didn’t. It was a cheap dish that made a lot, and made us all happy.  If you’ve ever had the mac and cheese at Soul Vegetarian, you’ll find this tastes a lot like that — creamy, rich, and just the right amount of nooch to hit the spot for us. The recipe calls for elbows, but from some reason, we can’t get organic elbows lately!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

With our love for wings, we had to try the Maple-Chipotle Crispers, too. These are sensational. The sauce is perfectly balanced, with just the right amount of maple and zing. We had them with the Buttermilk-Style Coleslaw, which is also very good.

Maple-Chipotle Crispers with Buttermilk-Style Coleslaw

One thing to note: some of the recipes rely on other recipes within the book. Not a problem at all, just be sure to read through the recipe so you aren’t surprised when the family is circling the kitchen.

The book really delivers what the title offers. These are everyday foods that are sure to be family favorites. If you’d like to enter to win a copy, comment on this post with one of your own “everyday vegan eats”. The winner will be drawn on May 23rd. Please be sure to check back to see if you won!

UPDATE! Contest is closed!

Enter to win a copy of Vegan Finger Foods at one of these super cool spots on our blog tour!

Zsu’s Vegan Pantry 

Olives for Dinner

Vegan Eats and Treats

Next week: A recipe from Vegan Finger Foods, per tester request. You’ll see! And be sure to see if you win Everyday Vegan Eats! 


Freekeh Cabbage Pilaf

Freekeh Friday returns! While my love for using freekeh in salads and soups know no bounds, I wanted to be sure to share this pilaf-style dish. It’s quick and wonderfully versatile. Make it once this way, then consider a launch pad for your own creativity!

News on book contests and more:

Win a copy of Vegan Finger Foods over at Zsu’s Vegan Pantry! Congratulations to Zsu on her release of Everyday Vegan Eats, which I will be reviewing here on May 15th. Don’t miss the contest!

I was not able to connect with the winner of the Oh She Glows cookbook, so the new winner is #7, Adam! Congratulations and I will try to contact you.

Want to help out some of our awesome animal-loving friends and have a chance at winning a cool quilt at that same time? Details are here! 

Feekeh and Cabbage Pilaf



Freekeh Vegetable Pilaf

This take on pilaf is pretty straight ahead, and mildly French influenced. Consider it a starting point. You really can adapt to any cuisine you wish: we happen to love a version where we omit the herbes de Provence, and sub caraway seeds instead. Then we swap out the parsley and add some minced fresh dill and chives instead. The sky is the limit!

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper

2 cups chopped cabbage

1/3 cup grated carrots

1/2 teaspoon dried herbes de Provence

2 cups cooked freekeh

Juice from 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and cabbage. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes, until soft. Add the carrots, herbes de Provence, and freekeh. Cook, stirring, until heated throughout. Stir in the lemon juice, parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Yield: 2 to 4 servings




First Ever Book and Quilt Tour

That’s right! As far as I know, this hasn’t happened before. For my upcoming events featuring Vegan Finger Foods, I’ll also be selling raffle tickets giving you a chance to win this quilt! It’s part of my Quilts for the Cause project and all ticket sales will go to my 2014 charities: Lasa Sanctuary and Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League. These wonderful, huge-hearted people need and deserve our support. So for $1/ticket or 6/$5.00, you’ll have a chance to win the quilt. I will ship the quilt  within the United States.

(approximately 64 x 94 inches)

Although I’d love to meet you in person, if you can’t make it to an event, please email me for details on how to buy raffle tickets.  We’ll work something out! The raffle will end the beginning of September.

Here are the scheduled events. More will be coming, too! Keep an eye on the Events page to stay up do date!

Park + Vine

Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, May 4, 2014 from 12 to 2 PM

Munch and Meet! Stop by to chat about veganism, sample a finger food, and get a signed copy of Vegan Finger Foods!



Asheville, North Carolina

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 7 PM

Samples and a casual discussion of veganism! Oh, and get your copy of Vegan Finger Foods signed, too!



Cleveland, Ohio

Monday, June 2, 2014, 5:30 to 8:30 PM

Our wonderful host, Townhall, will be featuring two recipes from Vegan Finger Foods on their Monday night Vegan Menu! We’ll also have a couple  free samples. Join us, and pick up a discounted copy of the book.


Cleveland VegFest at the Mac’s Back’s Table

Cleveland State University, Student Center

Saturday, June 7, 2014, time to be determined


Hal and Al’s

Columbus, Ohio

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Details to come!


Heights  Library, Coventy, Ohio

Saturday, July 12, 2014  3:00 PM

Local Authors, Local Foods (Panel Discussion)

Join Maury Feren, who wrote “Wheeling and Dealing in My World” and “My Life So Far,” both about his decades of experience in the Cleveland local produce industry, and Renata Brown, who is the VP of Education at the Cleveland Botanical Garden (“Gardening Lab For Kids”) and me as we discuss green living from our different angles.

Minor housekeeping notes: Natasha L., I’m not able to email you! If I don’t hear from you by Monday, May 5th, I will draw another winner. Freekeh Friday returns May 10th!


Freekeh Friday: Cinnamon Raisin Bread + Cookbook Winner

I promised you this recipe weeks ago. I was expecting to do the drawing for the Oh She Glows cookbook days ago. As it happens, other things got in the way. All good things (kittens, for one! errr.. two!) and I got delayed.

Chloe and Zoey

Cinnamon Raisin Bread (with Freekeh)

Cinnamon Raisin Bread

Mildly sweet, this moist and delicious loaf is wonderful as is. Or enjoy it the way we  often do: toasted beside a cup of tea. The freekeh brings a lot to the texture party, but doesn’t make the bread heavy. It also boosts the protein and fiber, too.

1/4 cup boiling water

3/4 cup raisins

1 cup lukewarm water

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 cups white wheat flour (or substitute some all-purpose flour, if desired), plus some extra

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup prepared whole or cracked freekeh

Nonstick cooking spray

Combine the boiling water and the raisins in a small bowl. Set aside to soften the raisins.

Combine the lukewarm water, maple syrup, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let sit for about 5 minutes,  or until the yeast bubbles. Add the oil and  vanilla and stir together. Add the flour, flax seed, salt, cinnamon, and freekeh. Knead with the dough hook for 5 to 6 minutes, until well combined. Add a tablespoon or two of flour at a time, if needed, as the freekeh releases moisture. This should be a wet dough,but will hold together well. Strain the raisins and add them to the dough. Knead for 1 to 2 minutes, until integrated.

Lightly flour a medium-size bowl with flour. Gather the dough into a ball and place in the bowl. Turn over, so the floured side is up, and swirl the dough in the bowl, using the bowl to further round it. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan lightly with cooking spray. Flatten the dough on a lightly floured surface and shape into a loaf. Transfer it to the pan, cover with a tea towel,  and let rise again until nearly doubled, about 35 to 45 minutes. While rising, preheat the oven to 375 °F. Bake the bread for 40 minutes, or until golden brown and the bottom sound hollow when tapped with your knuckles. Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: 1 loaf

Variation: For a more savory sandwich-style loaf, omit the raisins and cinnamon. This variation makes incredible vegan grilled cheese sandwiches!

Number 2 on my checklist: the winner of the Oh She Glows Cookbook! Congratulations to  #14 Natasha L!  Please send me your mailing address and the publisher will get a copy in the mail to you. More cookbook contests coming your way in May!

And..don’t forget to preorder Vegan Finger Foods! If you preorder and send you receipt to veganfingergoods@gmail.com, you will receive a signed bookplate to stick in your book. As a bonus, every 25th order will receive this amazing vegan bag!

Happy husband not included!


Be sure to check back for more contests, recipes, and all kinds of veganosity! Oh, one more thing! I’ve got some upcoming events (check the Events page for details!), and I’d love to meet you!

  • May 4, Park + Vine, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • May 21, Malaprops Bookstore, Asheville, North Carolina
  • June 2, Townhall/ Book Release Party! Cleveland, Ohio
  • June 7, Cleveland VegFest, Cleveland, Ohio (at the Mac’s Backs table)
  • June 21, Hal and Al’s, Columbus, Ohio

More to come- and hope to see you soon!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Review and Contest

Angela Liddon’s  beautiful blog is packed with tons of recipes. The woman must be a cooking and writing machine. Given all the awards her blog has received, I’ll admit to being a little late to the party. So when I was contacted about reviewing her new cookbook, The Oh She Glows Cookbook, I was happy to take a look.



At first glance, the cover is very appealing. (Click on the picture for a larger view- it kept distorting on me when I tried to make it bigger. Mad computer skills, here.) It’s carrots after all! I have to mention the fonts on the cover and throughout the book, even though it’s a little geeky. They are very clear and easy to read, looking both direct and approachable at the same time. (That’s not as easy it sounds, by the way.) The book opens with an introduction that I’m guessing her faithful readers can just skip over, and then goes into pantry planning and kitchen equipment. Rest assured that you probably have most of Angela’s suggested tools for cooking. The only one I’m missing is a pastry roller. If you’re a baker, you probably have that, too.

Enough set-up, what really matters is the food, right? The book contains 100 recipes. It’s a large, weighty book, and I would have guessed it had more. The chapters break down like this:

  • Breakfast – can’t wait to try the Maple-Cinnamon Apple and Pear Baked Oatmeal
  • Smoothies, Juice and Tea – never been a big fan of smoothies, but maybe the Classic Green Monster will change my ways
  • Appetizers- if a cookbook can do the basics well, like Classic Hummus, it’s a good sign (trying this soon)
  • Salads -Long Weekend Grilled Salad (have to try this one, thanks to Grills Gone Vegan)
  • Soups – check below for my review of one of the soups
  • Entrees – and the same for an entree
  • Sides – and yes, once again….
  • Power Snacks – always a fan of roasted chickpeas, will have to give these a go
  • Desserts – Double-Layer Chocolate Fudge Cake is sure to be in my future
  • Homemade Staples -full of milks, flours, dressings, sauces, and more

I like Angela’s cooking style. While not a no-oil book (thankfully), it is a low-oil cookbook, which works well for how I like to cook. All-purpose flour is included, but the emphasis is on whole grain flours. Most of the sweeteners are more natural, but in a few cases, good old cane sugar is the one of choice. Overall, this feels like a common-sense approach to healthful eating- and most importantly, we enjoyed the recipes.

First up, we tried the Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries.  A simple recipe, these delivered. I did have to bake them longer than the recipe suggested, but my fries could have been larger as well. If the most basic recipes are a success, I always think the more complicated dishes will be, too.

From there, we tried the On the Mend Spiced Red Lentil-Kale Soup. I knew we’d like this since it’s got some of our favorite spices, such as cumin, coriander, smoked paprika, and more. I had to add carrots because it’s a house rule that soups almost always require carrots. The broth is flavorful and the soup is quick and flavorful.

Of course we had to try the Luxurious Tomat0-Basil Pasta. We practically live on tomatoes and basil in the summer. Creamy cashew sauce is tossed with onions, garlic, spinach, basil, and seasonings. Since we are months away from good tomatoes, we opted for the option of using canned diced tomatoes here. I did add a bit of vinegar to the cashew sauce, but otherwise, made the recipe as directed. It was a winner!

Now for the contest! All you have to do is comment on this post (any comment will do!) for your chance to win a copy, courtesy of the publisher. US shipping only, please (and sorry!). The drawing will be held on Monday, April 21st. Enter now! Be sure to check out Amey’s blog, Vegan Eats and Treats, for another chance to win!