Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast

(photo by

Tonight I was chatting with a friend of mine who spoke of how she discovered something delicious to make for breakfast. She called it Pumpkin Oatmeal, and confessed that the reason she actually went to sleep at night was due to the prospect of eating a juicy meal in the morning.

She described that after she makes a bowl of plain oatmeal, she takes a spoonful of organic pumpkin puree and drops it over the hot grain. She then sprinkles brown sugar and cinnamon over it to seal the deal!

As the weather turns colder, trees morph into the colors of fire and, (with Halloween this weekend), jack-o-lanterns stare at me from every porch, I have been craving to bake something that has the intense spicy-sweetness of pumpkin. Except baking bread or muffins has just been out of the question with midterms this week.

Pumpkin Oatmeal will satisfy my wish to eat Autumnal food while ensuring that I will still pass my courses.

Now I'm excited to go to sleep tonight just to wake up. That doesn't say food-obsessed right?
Thanks for the recipe friend!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Homemade Granola

Granola is one of those foods that are so easy to make, but are almost always bought packaged. While there are countless great brands that make all natural, organic, and delicious blends of granola out there, (Galaxy Granola is my favorite when I don't have access to any machine resembling an oven), there is simply no excuse not to make your own when it is so simple and speedy. Not to mention that granola making is a fantastic avenue to express your creative side!

All sorts of fruit, nuts and seeds can be added to alter the taste and nutritional value. While there are many recipes out there that call for eons of sugar, I prefer my granola to be only slightly sweet. Honey takes care of that. The sweet-tooths out there may want to add a few tablespoons to the mixture.

Homemade Granola

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup honey

just enough olive oil to coat the oats, about 4 tablespoons

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice mix

1 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons sugar, (optional)

1/2 cup nuts (almonds are delicious)

1/2 cup raisins or other types of dried fruit

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine olive oil and honey in a small bowl. Heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave. In another bowl, combine oats, spices and sugars. Pour the hot oil and honey over to coat completely. Stir in nuts, fruit or any other add-ins.

Spread oats into a greased cookie pan. Press gently. Place into the oven and bake until golden brown! Check often to make sure none of the fruit is burnt.

Serve with soy or almond milk, drizzled with a little honey. This would also great if it topped off a cup of Fage or Soy yogurt.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Are you bored and looking for a way to procrastinate? Perhaps you're looking for some vegan-inspiration?

Check out

A place where people post pictures of their positively pot-belly inducing concoctions.

'Nuff said.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Runcible Spoon

As a part time job, (read: weekend job), I work at a fantastic little restaurant called The Runcible Spoon. Named after a line in the poem, "The Owl and The Pussycat" by Edward Lear, The Spoon, as we call it, epitomizes the artsy progressive vibe my college town of Bloomington, IN is known for. The Spoon is commonly thought of as having the best coffee in town not only because the owners are nothing short of coffee- connoisseurs, but also because the beans are roasted on site, right in the restaurant.

The food is outstanding and real, and though they serve meat, there are several vegan and vegetarian options.

Below is an article I wrote reviewing them some years ago that appeared in the Indiana University student newspaper, the IDS.

A Home Away From Home
By Jenna Blumenfeld

Upon entering the house-turned-restaurant Runcible Spoon, I felt as though I had been invited there for dinner. My friend and I were invited to sit where we pleased; choosing a pair of worn armchairs snuggled in the corner of a room. The peppy hostess greeted us like we had been friends for years, and all of my anxieties of college life trickled away from me.

Rustic homemade meals are characteristic of Runcible Spoon head chefs David Nash and Matt O’Neil, harkening back to simpler days before fast food and all you can eat buffets. The ingredients in the lunch and dinner menus are quite simple and few, but they sure do pack a punch.

We began our meals with soup: I with the black bean vegetable, and my friend with the tomato garlic and basil. Served with lightly toasted, super-dark pumpernickel bread, our starters were brought to us promptly by our charismatic waiter. Though the black bean soup was decent, it lacked the zesty and sweet-spicy vigor of the tomato soup. Consequently, I kept mooching spoonfuls of the tomato soup from my friend, losing myself in its melting pot of flavors, while the black bean stood abandoned.

Our two entrees were equally delicious. Craving lighter fare, I went with the “Veg Plate”: a succulent blend of piping hot seasonal sautéed veggies, piled high over a bed of lightly fried potatoes, which tasted almost like the hash browns Runcible Spoon is famous for in its breakfast menu. The flavors of the vegetables worked well together, blending carrots, onions, zucchini, spinach and tomatoes that burst in my mouth when I bit them, releasing their fruity juices. The plate was topped with the freshly chopped basil found in the tomato soup, adding another dimension of character to the dish.

My friend ordered a burger for his meal. As savory and juicy as they come, layered with lettuce, onion and tomato; sandwiched between toasted buns, you wouldn’t even know it was a veggie burger. Entitled the “Spicy Black Bean Burger”, the hallmark of American barbeque cuisine is made over into a healthful, grease-free alternative that preserves all the rugged allure of its beef counterpart, without the gastro-intestinal sorrow. And for an astronomically low price of $4.95, we felt almost guilty for getting so much satisfaction out of the dish.

To finish off our dinner, we wallowed in the sexy, sultry richness of the Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake. Generously cut, the cake was drizzled with two different types of chocolate, and flanked by massive mounds of fresh whipped cream. Make sure to have a cup of in-house roasted, fair trade coffee the café-section of the restaurant serves, because you will need something strong to match the depth of the cake.

Though the food was outstanding, the eccentric character of the Runcible Spoon would keep me coming back again and again. Nowhere else do friendly conversations regularly leap from table to table nor do Celtic musicians hold their band practices in the side room. The people who eat there are fixtures of the restaurant, and it has true potential to be a home away from home.

So if you ever find yourself wandering through Bloomington, Indiana, starving and fixin' for a good meal, The Runcible Spoon is the place to go. Who knows, you might even bump into me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Soy Crisp Mania

Despite how much I love natural, real food, sometimes there is nothing I want more than a massive handful of chips. I think its the salt that I crave, or maybe I just want junk food in general, but I am a chip-head at heart. Of course, regular potato chips can carry a bunch of processed, artificial ingredients in them that will make anyone have a stomachache.

And that is where Genisoy's Soy Crisps come to the rescue. With 7 grams of protein and 3 grams of fat per serving, ingredients with names like "soy flour", "cane juice", "onion powder" and "rice pieces", chip cravings can be fed without feeling like a heifer or a couch potato. They can be found in the natural section of any supermarket, in oodles of tasty flavors. Try the Zesty BBQ for a little spice. Want Chez-Its? Go for the Cheddar flavor.

For an out-of-world experience, pair these tasty morsels of delight with a bowl full of salsa. All you need is a TV and a DVD of Arrested Development episodes and your day will officially reach veg-out status.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Home In Cookie Form

All cookies are great. Snickerdoodles, oatmeal raisin, maple walnut: who doesn't love a sugary, chunky blast of dessert? That said, the smell of the cookie that reminds me most of home is without a doubt, the coveted chocolate chip cookie. Classic and simple in the best sense, the cookie smell that emits from the oven brings me right back to my customary after-school snack. Even when I was in high school, coming back after field hockey or lacrosse practice to a nice, big chewy chocolate chip cookie will forever create a cozy feeling.

While I used to eat cookies with milk, these vegan chocolate chip ones taste the best with soymilk.

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies
From How It All Vegan

3/4 cups dry sweetener

1/2 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance)

1/2 cup oil

3 tablespoons water

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/4 flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stir the sweetener with the wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Mix in chocolate chips. Drop dough in spoonfuls on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are brown.
Eat and return home for a few minutes.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vegan Diner for Activism

In Indiana there is currently a large controversy surrounding the I-69 highway that is being built. Over 400 families have or will be evicted from their homes to make way for the new construction and 7,000 acres of land will be paved over. When two Bloomington, IN residents recently received extremely large tickets while protesting the highway, their friends decided to host a vegan diner to help cushion their legal costs.

I attended the "diner" (which was held in a local house) this Saturday, and was blown away by the deliciousness of the meal!

For $5 I was given a plate of scrambled tofu, pancakes, steamed kale, seitan sausage and unlimited amounts of coffee. So inspired was I by the brunch that I acquired my very own vegan cookbook later that day: How It All Vegan, by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer.

Below is a recipe for scrambled tofu similar to the one I so loved at the diner. I assure you, nothing tastes better than vegan fare with a cause.

Vegetable Tofu Scrambler
From How It All Vegan, makes 2 or more servings.

1/2 medium onion

4-5 mushrooms, sliced

splash of olive oil

1 package firm tofu, crumbled

1-2 tsp curry powder

pepper to taste

salsa to taste

2 stalks green onions, chopped

In a large saucepan, add the onions and mushrooms to a splash of oil and saute on medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. Crumble tofu and add to saucepan. Add curry and pepper. Saute 10-12 minutes until moisture has evaporated. Add salsa and green onions and scramble on high heat for 2-3 minutes.
Note: You could also add any other veggies!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Vegan Wines

It is always surprising when I find out that some of my favorite items are not vegan. Take wine for example. We all know that wine consists of grapes and maybe a little yeast. But the process by which wine is made is usually non-vegan. Most wines use the bones of animals, ground up small, to fashion a sieve. The liquid is forced through to extract grape debris. While no one wants chunks of grape skins in their vino, the idea of a powdered skeleton coming into contact with my drink is not too savory either.

Whats a vegan to do?

Luckily, there are many brands of wine that use alternative strainers. Yellow Tail is absolutely fantastic because the company offers many types of wine, for around $6 per bottle. And there are many vegan options!!

To make sure your wine is vegan, visit this site:

Now drink up!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vegan Month of October (VEGAN MOFO)

For the first time ever, I am partaking in a massive community event, called Vegan Mofo, to write about veganism for the month of October. While I will shoot for writing a little somethin' somethin' every day, lets face it, we all have lives outside the online world.

That said, expect news updates, new recipes, old recipes, cool photographs... basically anything that has to do with veganism is game.

I remind you that I am not a vegan, but a vegetarian. In the spirit of Vegan MoFo, I will attempt to be vegan for the Month of October. I am a little terrified of not being able to eat milk chocolate Halloween candy, or Jelly Bellies, (I have to double check if they have gelatin in them), but I'm pretty positive that I can relinquish my love of cheese for a mere 30 days.

Happy Mofoing!