Friday, July 25, 2008

Pearson Pinkham Pancakes

Difficulty Rating: 1 (easy)

Sift together

1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (opt.)
1/2 tsp nutmeg (opt.)
1/2 cup walnuts

Mix together

1 Tbs cooking oil
1 1/4-1 1/2 cups water (or combination with non-dairy milk)
1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the dry. Mix the wet. Mix the two together (be gentle, do not over-mix).
If you use no-gluten Red Mill flour, either reduce the water or increase the flour.

This is my adaptation of a recipe in my first vegan cookbook, The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook, produced by a commune many ages ago in Tennessee. (A good friend, whom I met a few years ago, was actually born there.)

I have added more baking powder and the spices, and reduced the sugar.

You can certainly add banana, different nuts, chocolate chips, berries...anything you want. It's a great basic recipe.

Gluten-free update: I used Bob Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix and a little Xanthan Gum and I swear they turned out better than ever!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Kansas Krazy Cake

Difficulty Rating: 1 (easy)

1-1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup light brown sugar (3/4 Cup also works fine)
3 TBSP cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
6 TBSP cooking oil
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup water

Oven 350 for 45 minutes. (About 15-20 minutes for cupcakes)

The original instructions call for making this all in the pan and mixing it up. I use a bowl and pour into pan that has been oiled and dusted for easy removal.

8 x 8 x 2 inch baking pan (or equivalent) or round cake pan.

This is a recipe that my mom included in my school's cookbook when I was in 4th grade at Annunciation School in Stockton. She typed it on a real typewriter...yes it was almost 40 years ago. I think it was a common recipe at the time, she just gave it another name. (My dad was from Kansas.) It just happens to be vegan by default.

I make this for almost every birthday at my house. Everyone loves it, and it's so easy to make. One recipe makes a nice small bundt or a one-layer round cake if you like, and double it for two round cakes to make a traditional birthday cake. Yes, it makes good cupcakes, too. Fill the cupcakes almost to the top--it doesn't rise as much as other cakes.

I'm happy eating it without icing, alone or with vegan ice cream. My daughter loves icing more than cake, so I will make icing with Tofutti Vegan Cream Cheese, vegan margarine, vanilla and powdered sugar. For more icing recipes, buy Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, or their blog Vegan Cupcakes Take over the World.

Want a vanilla cake? Just don't add the cocoa, and maybe add a little more vanilla.

Other ideas for this cake: add some instant coffee, vegan chocolate chips or white chocolate chips, nuts, etc. Possibilities are endless!

Gluten-free update: I used Bob Red Mill Gluten Free Flour Mix and a little Xanthan Gum and this is still a great chocolate cake that is super easy to make!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Great Wiki Article on How to Accommodate Veg'n Guests

What happens when you're having guests for dinner, and they are either vegan or vegetarian? Some preparation beforehand can ensure that your vegan and vegetarian guests enjoy the event as much as the other guests.


  1. Ask your guests if they have any dietary restrictions when issuing an invitation to a meal, and try to remember them - they'll greatly appreciate your efforts and respect you. When discussing the subject, ask them if they are willing to eat Jello, eggs, dairy products, honey, or animal-derived gelatin. Individuals may differ in how strictly they adhere to their chosen restrictions under certain conditions.
  2. Know the differences to avoid awkward errors or unneeded effort on your part. There are different types of vegetarians. Don't be afraid to ask specific questions and what options are safe to serve.
    • Lacto vegetarians eat non-meat animal products, e.g. dairy (milk, gelatin-free yogurt, butter, rennet-free cheese) and honey, but no fish, chicken, meat, or gelatin.
    • Lacto-ovo vegetarians eat eggs in addition to dairy products, but no fish, chicken, meat, gelatin, or cheese that contains rennet.
    • Vegans avoid eggs, dairy products, honey, and gelatin.
    • Pescetarians aren't technically vegetarians but may eat a mostly vegetarian diet. They will eat seafood. Some eat more than others or specific types of seafood.

  3. Check the ingredients of the recipes you were planning on serving. Some recipes may already be acceptable, or could be easily adapted (for example, using soy milk instead of cow's milk to make a dessert vegan). When purchasing products, look out for hidden animal ingredients such as meat broths, gelatin, casein or whey, lactose, butter, cheese, etc.
  4. Don't guess. If you have a question about something, ask. Or better yet, consider having your vegetarian friend cook with you - if they enjoy cooking. You can learn a lot about vegetarian cooking this way. Ask them about a particular recipe and if it's agreeable and then pick up ingredients. Most vegan ingredients will have a vegan label.
  5. Do not assume that vegetarians will pick the vegetables out of a meat dish. Prepare a separate meat-free dish for them, without using the same utensils utilized in cooking the non-vegetarian dishes.
  6. Make sure that the quantity and quality of food served to all the guests is similar. Don't expect a vegetarian guest to feel satisfied with an iceberg lettuce salad while everyone else has a full meal. It is a surefire way to ensure that they don't want to return.
  7. Include filling dishes such as pasta, rice, or potatoes as well as fruits and vegetables. Don't forget to include protein, otherwise the guest will still be hungry. Good protein sources are vegetarian lentil soup or chili (made with beans). Mock meats can be useful, but check their ingredients as some may not be vegan. Also, not all vegetarians are crazy about mock meats, especially if they were raised as such all their lives.
  8. Search. It is easy to Google for vegetarian recipes online, or buy a vegetarian recipe book and plan in advance.
  9. Order out. If you cannot plan to cook separately for your vegetarian guests, then order some food from a local restaurant, checking that their dietary restrictions are met. Lots of restaurants accommodate vegetarians, e.g. Indian, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Ethiopian among others. Many cities also have vegetarian restaurants. In a pinch, even pizza (as long as they eat cheese with rennet) will do. You can also do a cheese-free veggie pizza. Tell the restaurant your needs and they may be able to steer you in the right direction for your order.
  10. Make simple non-meat dishes if you're feeling lazy or don't have vegan or vegetarian versions of things (such as mock meats or soy dairy, or switch vegetable stock for meat stock in recipes). Things like macaroni and cheese or sandwiches are incredibly easy and don't require anything extra.
  11. Look for ingredients at your local health food store. Many have delis and the staff are often quite knowledgeable. Don't be afraid of ordering dishes from the deli or asking questions of the deli workers. They'll be happy to help.
  12. Buy enough for your vegetarian guest and also enough for your other guest to try. It could be a great time to sample vegetarian dishes and your vegetarian or vegan guest won't feel singled out at the table.
  13. Remember to pick up dessert items and appetizer items your friend can enjoy as well. Consider doing a dessert assortment so everyone can have a little something. Veggie trays work well for everyone but the deli at your local health or fresh food store may also have tasty options.
  14. Give them notice. If you truly cannot accommodate your vegan or vegetarian guests, then warn them in advance so they can eat before the event or bring some food with them. You should still offer a veggie and/or fruit tray selection that everyone can nibble on.
  15. Remember that many of the foods that you eat may already be vegetarian or easily converted to vegetarian versions.
  16. Consider stocking up on several dishes and ingredients if your guest will be there over night or eating more than one meal. You may prefer to wait until they arrive and take them to the grocery store with you. Try to find a health food store in town and consider stopping there. You may also prefer to plan more meals out.


  • Always ask guests about their dietary requirements and be as clear as possible. Have them write it down if necessary. If you are not sure whether or not you can accomodate them, ask them for suggestions!
  • Consider how you would want to be treated if you were a vegan or vegetarian. Asking someone why they are vegetarian at the dinner table can be considered rude, and it puts them on the spot.
  • A search on Vegetarians and Vegans to understand your guests' choices better may help prevent giving unintentional offense.
  • Don't embarrass a guest by making an entire separate meal for them. You should incorporate their options into your menu.
  • Please do not be offended if your guest cannot eat what you prepared because of a certain ingredient overlook. For many vegetarians, this is not a flexible subject and "just a little" cheese/chicken stock/gelatin, etc. is not acceptable. The effort is greatly appreciated,and they should be gracious enough to explain that they cannot eat a certain product but that they appreciate the effort. It's not a personal attack, they just simply cannot eat certain items.
  • Vegetable bullion is readily available on the supermarket shelf next to chicken and beef. It's tasty and when used as the base for soup, risotto, or in which to cook beans, it works fabulously.
  • Most cheeses sold in the US/Europe contain rennet, an enzyme complex derived from cow stomachs. Unless the label says "microbial rennet" or "vegetable rennet" cheese is not vegetarian.
  • Another consideration when accommodating some vegetarian/vegan guests is that your soap is animal friendly and hasn't been tested on animals. If the label doesn't say that it wasn't, it has been tested on animals.


  • Do not lie to your guests and claim that dishes are vegetarian when they are not. This may very well be violating their ethical and/or religious beliefs. This is a very big violation of trust and friendship. If they find out you've lied, which is likely, they will feel they can no longer trust you. Some people may have severe allergic reactions to the animal ingredients you are trying to sneak in. Many vegetarians and vegans will become sick after eating animal products as their bodies are not used to consuming them.
  • Don't forget to keep a vegetarian dish vegetarian by using separate kitchen tools and equipment, both when preparing and serving it. It is generally not acceptable to slice a pot roast and then slice your vegan guest's tofu with the same knife. If you must use the same utensil, make sure to serve/prepare the vegetarian dish first.
  • Check the labels of all foods/snacks/seasonings to ensure they don't contain meat or meat-derived ingredients. For a vegan recipe, additionally avoid: "Lactose," "Whey Powder" "Modified Milk Ingredients," "Honey," "Dried Egg -Whites or -Yolks." "Gelatin" usually refers to the kind produced from animal bones or hides, so avoid it if it's not specified as coming from a non-animal source such as carrageenan, agar-agar, or Irish moss.
  • Not everyone likes giant mushroom sandwiches, bell peppers, and tofu. Don't try anything weird to impress the vegetarian guest. Rice, beans, rolls, macaroni, salad, corn, and other plain old foods will suffice.
  • Don't lecture your guests about their diet. Chances are, your vegetarian guest knows way more about how much protein, B12, and other nutrients they need than you think you know! They have done the research, and they have made the choices that they feel are best for them.
  • Don't make fun of the foods that your guest likes. Don't joke about the guest eating bark and seaweed or rabbit food. Don't joke about the guest being a "hippie", "tree hugger", or "new age nut". Vegetarianism has been around for ages and shouldn't be equated with any specific political slant or religious affiliation.
  • Not so much a warning as a request: Please don't spend the entire meal asking the vegan/vegetarian guest to explain why they are so. Don't tell them horror stories about how you know someone who has a relative who met someone whose neighbour was a vegetarian but got so sick he almost died. That's just rude and sick.
  • Most health food stores offer a higher quality product, offer foods with less preservatives or have a more specialized staff. This usually results in higher prices passed along to the consumer. Plan to spend more when shopping specialty stores or in the health food section of your better grocery stores.
  • If using cheese, find out if it was made with rennet (, which is made from a calf's stomach. There are cheeses made from "vegetable rennet" available.

Related wikiHows

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cookbook Ethics

I'll post a more legal version of this soon, but here's a the gist of what I know and think.

Recipes come under a bit of a gray area in the legal copyright arena.

Legally, a recipe itself (the ingredients) isn't so copyrightable, so to speak. The COLLECTION of recipes, as in a cookbook or a blog, IS. You can't copy a whole cookbook and call it yours. The description and prose that goes along with a recipe still belongs to the writer, too. Don't copy that stuff.

If you send me a recipe and it is from another cookbook, please make reference to that original book and author, whether or not you have changed or adapted the recipe to your own liking. Karma is karma and we want to keep her on our side. (To paraphrase "My Name is Earl.")

If you send me an original recipe that YOU created, please tell me your name and if you have published it before and where. I will keep your name associated with that recipe. If you are sending me anything, you are acknowledging its potential use in this site and inclusion in a cookbook, with no compensation other than a credit and maybe a free book, when and if it is published. (I prefer to think, when.)

Margaret's Favorite Nutloaf

Difficulty: 2 (1=super easy; 2=easy; 3=moderate; 4=a little harder; 5=challenging)

1 TBS oil or water
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped celery

2 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups finely chopped (or food-processed) walnuts
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 TBS mustard
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup soy (or other) milk

1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup molasses

1 small can mandarin oranges (pineapple rings cut into quarters work, too)

Saute first three ingredients until onion is tender. Lightly mix with the rest of the loaf ingredients.

Form into a loaf or ring in a round casserole dish. Garnish top with orange or pineapple slices.
Bake 45 minutes.

While loaf is baking, make sauce. Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan. Mix and cook on medium heat, stirring until thick. (This can boil over if not watched.) Spoon over loaf after baking 15 minutes. Baste every ten minutes. Make extra or use extra for pouring over grain when served.

Serve with brown rice, couscous, millet or any favorite grain. Even good on mashed potatoes.

Serves 4-6.

This is a recipe I adapted from a traditional "meatloaf" that my mother always made me for my birthday when I was growing up. The sauce makes it very sweet and I loved it. Made with walnuts, you can hardly tell the difference between the two versions. I've brought this to potlucks and people question that it's vegan.

I haven't tried it with other nuts, but if someone has a walnut allergy, you could try pecans or almonds.

Gluten-free update: I used some old gluten-free bread that was in the freezer in place of the regular bread crumbs and it's great! I think there is a gluten-free bread crumb item on the market, too.

Oops! Typo corrected on link!

What a difference one letter makes!

A friend pointed out to me that my link for my business blog took him to someplace VERY different! It has been corrected and the link now takes you to my actual Blog for my business, Organize in Harmony. (I'm a professional organizer--the life/house kind, not union!)

Sorry for the confusion if any of you visited that site. At least it wasn't XXX!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chapters 8-10

Chapter 8-Can I buy you a drink?

Tips on dating a veg'n. How to impress. How not to offend. And a short course on veg'n wine and beer.

Chapter 9-You mean you don't like this leather handbag I got you?
How to buy gifts for veg'ns.

Chapter 10-Anything else?
A summary of the book, my hopes and dreams for the reader--you know, world peace and understanding through veg'nism, tolerance, acceptance, education, conversion, etc.

Chapter 7-The Recipes

Chapter 7a Breakfast

Chapter 7b Appetizers

Chapter 7c Entrees

Chapter 7d Salads

Chapter 7e Soups

Chapter 7f Baking

Chapter 7g Sweets

Chapter 7h Misc

All Chapters in the Cookbook

The order and the titles might change, but here are the ideas as of today. I'm sure there will be more added. I'll try to make sure that every post is labeled with the "Chapter Title" so you can easily see what's been written or the recipes that fall in a certain category if you are searching for them.

This post will be re-posted in segments so I can get all the chapters in the label function of this blog to work like an index. (There is a character limit to "labels.")

Chapter Titles and Summaries

Chapter 1 -Really, who is this cookbook for?
It's for the friends and family of people who are vegan, vegetarian or raw-foodists, henceforth referred to as "Veg'n." Or those that wish to become a friend (or family member). I'm not a raw-foodist, so I will need help here.

Chapter 2- You're a Vega-what?
Different types of vegetarianisms are defined.

Chapter 3- You don't eat what?
All the stuff Veg'ns don't eat and a few reasons why. So there's understanding.

Chapter 4-You eat what?
All the stuff that seems weird to our non-veg'n friends. You know--tempeh, seitan, tofu, miso, etc. Kinda like a Veg'n-to-Carnivore Foreign Language Dictionary.

Chapter 5-You're a Veg'n and allergic to what?
Some help on how to cook for those who might also have food allergies, intolerances or general avoidances of certain things are that actually veg'n. (Like wheat, soy, gluten, sugar, etc.)

Chapter 6-I can use what instead of chicken?
Easy substitutions (maybe) to use in your current recipes--meat analogs, dairy/egg substitutes, etc.

Chapter 7 Recipes

Chapter 7a Breakfast

Chapter 7b Appetizers

Chapter 7c Entrees

Chapter 7d Salads

Chapter 7e Soups

Chapter 7f Baking

Chapter 7g Sweets

Chapter 7h Misc

Chapter 7i Drinks

Chapter 8-Can I buy you a drink?
Tips on dating a veg'n. How to impress. How not to offend. And a short course on veg'n wine and beer.

Chapter 9-You mean you don't like this leather handbag I got you?
Gift-giving tips.

Chapter 10-Anything else?
A summary of the book, my hopes and dreams for the reader--you know, world peace and understanding through veg'nism, tolerance, acceptance, education, conversion, etc.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

To Serve Vegetarians, the Birth of a Cookbook

While perusing the Veggie cookbook shelf at Copperfield's Bookstore in Sebastopol, I had a thought....

I should write a cookbook meant not necessarily for vegetarians/vegans, but for their friends, family and maybe somebody wishing to become the friend or family of a veggie. Something about "How to feed those crazy vegetarians," or "What to fix for your nutty vegan friends." And then synchronicity happened. (Oops, there's another idea. This time for a T-shirt ..."Synchronicity Happens."

DH (Darling Husband), DF (Dear Friend) and I were looking for a place to eat in Downtown Petaluma. We were outside the upscale, fresh, organic Central Market restaurant reading the menu, looking for the vegan options. (They weren't really there.) The chef and owner, Tony Najiola, poked his head out in an effort to cajole us in for a meal. When I asked if he could serve vegans, he said yes, especially with a ranch dip. Buh-dump-bump.

While there was no "vegetarian" entree, he promised he would feed me. I had a lovely plate of several sides. Alas, no protein. Unless beets have protein. (I might have consumed about 3-4g total protein by cleaning my plate of spinach, avocado, beets, potato, garlic, french green beans, asparagus and a glass of chardonnay. BTW, check out The Daily Plate to find out all the nutritional information you could ever want to know about any food.)

The titles for this site (It's a Cookbook!) and the eventual cookbook (To Serve Vegetarians) were born.

And just in case you didn't catch the reference to the cookbook title...there was a short story and a Twilight Zone Episode in 1962. "Helpful" aliens land on earth, and leave a book behind titled "To Serve Man." The first chapter doesn't get translated until it's too late.
While trying to stop people from getting on the spaceship, the translator shouts, "It's a cookbook!"

So, it's a cookbook! Or so it will be at some point in the future. (A pox on you if you decide to steal this idea or title.)

Until then, it is a Blog about vegan and vegetarian recipes and a notebook of sorts for thoughts on the cookbook. So, tell everyone you know (or who might care) about this site and lets get the public worked up about this wonderful cookbook and and we can tell publishers that we have public demand for it already!

So let's start the conversation! Please send me your favorite recipes (vegan and vegetarian, that is) and I will deem if they be fit for the blog or the book. I'd like to see recipes that are fairly easy for the non-veg to create. More on this later. It's all a work in progress. Chapter titles will come soon to give you a better idea of where I'm going with this.

No, I don't expect to share any profits, but hopefully I'll send you a book and you'll get a credit when it's published.