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Vegan Love Foods: A Valentine's Guide

Sica Schmitz

Posted on January 30 2018

Vegan Love Foods: A Valentine's Guide

When planning my blog topics for February, I thought it made the most sense for the theme of the month to be 'Love.' I mean, duh, right?

But as someone going through a heart-wrenching yet very mature break up (à la Conscious Uncoupling), I don't have much to add to the romance conversation right now. So instead, I decided to focus on three things that I am comfortable and qualified to talk about at this moment: 

1) Eating my feelings
2) Veganism
3) Friend love

Luckily, those all came together beautifully thanks to a gift from Nutcase Vegan Meats, who sent me a box of their amazing homemade, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, non-GMO meats to test out.

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

I've mentioned this before, but I'm not a huge fan of most fake meat products (mostly because I never liked real meat products), so I was a little hesitant about this whole thing but decided to give it the old college try. And spoiler alert: I finally found a fake meat product I love! It has wonderful flavors, a really pleasing texture, and was a huge hit with my test group of vegans and non-vegans alike, all of whom are as picky and difficult as I am but in entirely different ways because why should eating together be easy?

And the fact that we all found something we can enjoy is amazing, but just like I want to know who made my clothes, I want to know who made my food too. Nutcase Vegan Meats is a small family owned business in Michigan, started by two physicians playing around in the kitchen to create protein-packed, nutrient-rich options to feed their newly vegetarian daughter. Each batch is still handmade, and luckily for us, they ship nationally (in eco-friendly packaging, no less!). 

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

While I'm sort of joking about eating my feelings for this post, I'm also sort of serious. The food we eat is emotional, and powerful, and so if I'm going to eat a feeling, I want it to be love, and there are many ways to do this. Food can be a radical act of self love, when we use it to respect and nourish our bodies. Food can be a radical act of peace, when we choose options that do not lead to the lessening or loss of other lives (both human lives through unjust labor systems, and animal lives through unjust hierarchies). Food can be an incredibly important space for community, building bridges and bonds with friends and strangers alike. And in many cultures and traditions, food can even be thought of spiritually as holding certain powers of love, like some of the ingredients used below (cinnamon, vanilla, whiskey, saffron, to name a few). 

So, with a fridge full of a vegan meats and a heart full of emotions desperate for carbs, I decided to have a day of love foods with some of those I most love (including the family I was given and the family I have chosen). We spent the day cooking together and eating together (full disclosure: I mostly just did the eating) and for anyone else in the middle of cold winter days, the 2nd year of a Trump presidency, and/or a broken heart, here are two of my comfort food recipes, full of all the love and calories a girl could hope for.

 

BREAKFAST

Vegan French Toast with Whiskey Sauce + Nutcase Meats Vegan Breakfast Sausage

 Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

We started with one of my absolute favorite foods: French Toast. Veganized, of course.

My grandfather John made the best French Toast. And it became a favorite for birthday dinners (yes, dinners), and weekend breakfasts and really any time of day or year. It's the ultimate comfort food, as far as I am concerned, and while my grandfather passed away a few years ago, my mom's new husband John has very fortunately filled the French Toast sized void in my life (serious question: do you think the name is a prerequisite for masterful French Toast abilities?).

John's Vegan French Toast (makes 6 pieces)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Vegan Egg
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut creamer (his favorite is Trader Joe's)
  • 1 cap full real vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon, to taste (but he encourages using a lot)
  • Fresh thickly sliced sourdough bread
  • Love, to taste

Toppings

  • Vegan butter
  • Real maple syrup
  • Powdered sugar
  • Your favorite fruit 
  • Whiskey sauce (see below)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 225
  2. For this recipe, do not follow the instructions on the Vegan Egg carton. John's an engineer and has perfected this recipe, trust me. Instead, combine water and coconut creamer, then sift vegan egg powder into it. You may need to add an extra 1/8 cup of water, depending on consistency
  3. Push bread into liquid then flip over 3 times on each side (did I mention that he's an engineer?)
  4. Coat pan with olive oil and cook on medium heat (note: cooking vegan French Toast will take longer than non-vegan French Toast, if that's what you're used to)
  5. Add love
  6. Put finished French Toast on baking sheet in oven, covered in tin foil while you cook the rest
  7. Add your favorite toppings, and enjoy!

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

Mom's Whiskey Cream Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup organic white sugar
  • 2/3 cup confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 cup whiskey
  • 1/2 cup coconut creamer
  • Love, to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring water to a boil in a small deep pot
  2. Add in white sugar and confectioner's sugar, stir, then allow to boil for 2 minutes
  3. Pour in whiskey. Note: if you have a shallow pot and you’re cooking with gas it can flambé (light on fire - which is exciting! but not always encouraged), so definitely use a deep pot if possible, and cover with a lid until the alcohol cooks out to prevent a fire. Unless you're into that kind of thing, of course. I'm not your boss.
  4. Boil for 2 more minutes
  5. Add a generous helping of love
  6. Turn the heat off and let stand 5 minutes
  7. Add in coconut creamer
  8. Stir, and enjoy!

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

Nutcase Vegan Meats Breakfast Sausage

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat 
  2. Add patties and cook until crisp on both sides
  3. Serve and enjoy!

 

(insert nap here)

 

DINNER

Spaghetti with Nutcase Vegan Meatballs, Marinara, and Vegan Garlic Bread

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan Meats

Speaking of comfort foods, obviously I would be remiss if I did not include the ultimate classic: spaghetti and meatballs. Fortunately my mom makes the most divine spaghetti (with a secret handed down from my Grandfather John) and marinara (with a secret handed down from her grandmother). We added a side of roasted veggies, though adding a salad probably wouldn't ruin this meal, if you're into that kind of thing.

Mom's Homemade Marinara

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 12 mushrooms, sliced
  • Large white onion, minced
  • 1 head of garlic, minced (6-10 cloves, more is better, obviously)
  • 2 tablespoons organic dry basil
  • 2 tablespoons organic dry oregano
  • Pinch of thyme, to taste
  • Pinch of saffron, to taste
  • Pinch of black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
  • 2 - 15oz cans of tomato sauce
  • 2 - 15oz cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup good red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • Pinch of salt, to taste 
  • Love, to taste

Instructions

  1. Coat large sauce pan in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and sauté mushrooms. Once they are nicely sautéed take them out and set them aside in a bowl
  2. Add 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil to pan and sauté white onion
  3. Once the onions are done, add the mushrooms back into the pan along with the garlic
  4. Season with basil, oregano, thyme, saffron, black pepper, and rosemary
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, and diced tomatos
  6. Add red wine (pour yourself a glass, if needed) 
  7. Add love
  8. Cover and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes
  9. Finish with maple syrup and salt

My Grandfather John's tip for cooking the best spaghetti: add pasta to boiling water for 4 minutes, then cover and remove from heat for the remaining cooking time.

Bead & Reel Marinara

Mom's Vegan Garlic Bread

Ingredients

  • Fresh sourdough bread
  • Vegan butter, room temperature
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • Pinch of paprika, to taste
  • Love, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix butter, garlic, and basil
  3. Slice bread thickly, but don't cut all the way through (leaving about 1/4 inch still attached at the bottom)
  4. Spread butter mixture on bread
  5. Top with paprika and love
  6. Bake for 15 minutes

Bead & Reel Vegan Garlic Bread

Nutcase Vegan Meats Italian Sausage

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Coat large pan in oil
  2. Roll Nutcase Vegan Italian Sausage into small-to-medium sized meatballs
  3. Add meatballs to pan and cook until lightly browned on several sides
  4. Serve and enjoy!

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan MeatsBefore

Bead & Reel Nutcase Vegan MeatsAfter

 

Pro tip: take any leftover meatballs, thinly slice, and add to your next vegan pizza!! 

 

 

A note on ethics in writing: I would never promote anything that I hadn't personally used and didn't both believe in and enjoy. The Nutcase Vegan Meats were kindly gifted to me with no strings attached, however I genuinely like both the product and the company and decided to write about them. 

I may sometimes use affiliate links in my blog when talking about products or services that I truly suggest, which means that I may get a small commission if you end up buying or trying something through a link I share (which helps me keep the lights on, and supports the hard work I do in creating these posts!). 

Lastly, I love getting your thoughts and feedback in the comments below, but unfortunately this system won't let me reply back. If you have a question, feel free to write me directly at hello@beadandreel.com

Sica Schmitz Bead & Reel Blog

1 comment

  • Monica Randles : March 11, 2018

    Fabulous post!

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