Cooking the Books: The Homemade Vegan Pantry.

Episode 2, The Homemade Vegan Pantry by Miyoko Schinner

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I’ve had the honor of meeting Miyoko a couple of times. We’ve hung out at various vegfests around the country, and she has graciously donated cheese to events we’ve produced, let me share her recipes and she comes into my kitchen through her INCREDIBLE books. I simply adore and admire her so much! I use this book repeatedly. There are recipes I know by heart now and have made my own. The teaching that happens in this book is easy to follow and delivers delicious results!

Yes, these days folks are super excited about all of the vegan products on mainstream grocery store shelves, singing the praises of convenience and the abundance of options. I think that’s great and I definitely have mass produced pantry staples I buy on the regular. (Looking at you, Vegenaise.) BUT – I also love to be in the kitchen, and I love making as much of our food as I can from scratch. Not only is it often tastier and healthier, but it’s much lighter on the planet (less plastic packaging!) and also lighter on the wallet. Making ketchup is dirt cheap but buying quality ketchup can cost upwards of $5 a bottle. You get the drift! Give episode 2 a watch, subscribe if you want, and tell a friend if that’s your style. The more vegans, the merrier! 

And please, if you like our channel, subscribe! xo – Michelle

Food! Uncategorized

Tofu 101: Part 2. How To Cook Herbivore’s Go-To Tofu

HEY TEAM! Here we go, our second video about TOFU. We published this on YouTube and Instagram in March but of course forgot to put it here. Silly us! There are so many places and apps and sites to update…..sometimes we forget to update everything! Regardless, we are hopeful that you have watched this little video somewhere, and have made the best tofu out there! If not, get to it!

ICYMI, we are doing more videos on our YouTube channel, so you definitely want to subscribe there. Our latest is a cookbook series called Cooking The Books, where I talk about my favorite cookbooks. It’s a blast to share what I love about cookbooks, because if you didn’t know, I LOVE COOKBOOKS. We will also post those videos here!

Happy cooking, happy eating, happy happy! XOXO -Michelle

Food! Uncategorized

Tofu 101 – Types of Tofu

My mom will tell anyone who listens that I am a good cook because I can even make tofu taste good. *sigh* I know she thinks that is a compliment… but DAMN, woman! Do not insult tofu! ANYONE can make it delicious.

It’s not news that people love to hate tofu. It’s a knee-jerk negative reaction to a food that standard American diet folks can easily espouse, because it confirms what they want to believe. Tofu is gross and meat is not. Sorta like loving bacon. Everyone says it, so it must be true? Ummm…. vegans do make bacon out of everything, don’t we? Hmmm…..


Tofu. If you are mystified by it or find it difficult to prepare, let’s get to the bottom of it. All you may need is some education and some practice. Let’s go.

The first thing you need to know are the most typical types of tofu. Here they are, most easily recognized by their packaging:

• Aseptic packaged tofu like this is mostly used for desserts and creamy sauces. It is silken or soft, and not the right kind of tofu to make nuggets or strips.

• Shrink wrap packaging is like this kind you can find at Trader Joe’s. It’s great for grilling, cubing, etc. It is VERY firm and will not make a creamy sauce!

• Finally, the tofu I use the most is the water packed kind like this from Portland’s Ota Tofu. It comes in soft, medium, firm and extra firm. I most often use the extra firm variety. The difference between these tofu types is the amount of water in them. Silken has a high water content, extra firm the least amount of water. The more water the softer the tofu will be. The less water, the firmer it will be.

Check out the video for me to show you a little more about the packaging and types of tofu. Next video? HOW TO COOK IT!!!



New Defend Wonder Cards!

I’m having a blast in our little studio making screen printed cards and art. It’s a lovely escape during these rough times.

I printed up two new cards last week and made a little process video. The cards are available on our site right now, hope you like them!

Oh, a quick note! I call it “silk screening” in the beginning of the video. Lots of people call it that, but there is no silk involved. Old habits die hard. Synthetic fibers make up the mesh in a screen these days. Woo! JOSH


Vegan Trail Mix Cookies

Hey palz!
It’s the Holidaze and it’s cookie time!

We prepped a couple of batches of these beauties last night for Ruby’s tutor and teachers. These cookies HAVE IT ALL. They are sweet and salty, full of nuts, can be GF so darn easily and they are adaptable as hell! What nuts or seeds and dried fruit do you have or love? Use it!

We made this batch with chia seeds, peanuts, almonds, pecans, hemp hearts and walnuts! For the fruit we used golden raisins and dried, tart cherries.
For the GF ones we used 1/4 cup of brown rice flour and 1/4 cup of corn flour. Sorghum would be good. Or a basic GF mix. Or all rice flour (crunchy=good!). Or oat flour. Should I go on? All purp or whole wheat flour is great for those who do gluten.

And — we chose WHITE CHOCOLATE CHIPS because thank you Herbivore Pantry.
Folks love receiving homemade gifts, especially something as special as these. Are you baking for friends this holiday?
Ready, set, bake! XOXO

Give these delicious cookies a whirl, you won’t be sorry. And if you do bake for us, gluten is fine. 😉 LOVE YOU!!


Food! Uncategorized

Schwegmann Family Stuffing

TRUTH: It’s all about this stuffing. Or dressing…. Whatever you want to call it is fine with me! As long as you make enough to enjoy for days. My typical childhood featured this dish at every fall holiday celebration. It’s one of the most memorable foods from my childhood and it’s popularity has persisted with everyone in my family through today. Childhood friends would come over for leftovers. My house was considered “the fun house” and we always had snacks, ice cream, soda, frozen burritos, cheese and crackers, chips, pretzels, everything….. and on holidays? Lots. Of. Food. And always plenty of leftovers. I really love those memories!

For the past 20 years we’ve been making this stuffing vegan. The only substitution is flax eggs for chicken’s eggs. And it works perfectly. If you make this, I hope you love it. And if you do, please comment or let us know what the family thinks! xo – Michelle

Grandma Schwegmann’s Stuffing

¼ cup flax meal / ground flax seeds
2 ½  cups vegetable broth
¼ – ½ cup vegan butter (can be omitted & more broth used)
1 cup finely chopped white onion
1 ½ cups finely chopped celery
1 loaf of good bread. Sourdough or artisan baked. Day old is fine! You want at least 1.25 pounds of bread or 10 cups. I always include the crusts. 
2 cups peeled, chopped apple. Granny Smith or something tart!
1 ½ cups golden raisins
½ cup toasted, chopped pecans
2 teaspoons salt or according to taste
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
Freshly ground pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter or oil a 9” x 12” glass dish.
  2. Whisk the flax meal in a small bowl with the vegetable broth. Set aside to thicken.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet and saute the onion and celery until soft, about 5 minutes. Do not let it brown. If you don’t want to use butter, saute in 1 cup of vegetable broth.
  4. Cut the bread into 1” cubes (no need to be exact!) and put in a LARGE mixing bowl. Add the apple, raisins, pecans, 1 teaspoon of salt and the poultry seasoning and ground pepper. Stir in the onion and celery and the reserved flax and vegetable broth. Really mix it well, you want to get every bread cube covered in the spice and liquid. Taste, add more spices if you want it bolder.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and pat it down and cover tightly with foil. (If you want to be decadent, put dots of vegan butter on the top prior to covering with foil.) Bake for 40 minutes, uncover, and bake for another 40 minutes. You’re aiming for crispy bits on the bottom and side, softer bits in the middle. This dressing / stuffing can also be used in a carved out gourd, or rolled into a seitan roulade, or wrapped up in a puff pastry for a stuffing Wellington!

Ruby Roth collab/interview!

We have adored Ruby Roth and her artwork for many years. We’ve wanted to collaborate forever and we finally made it happen! We launched a line of clothing, water bottles, onesies, stickers, pennants, and more. Perfect for kids age 1 to 100!

Ruby was kind enough to share a few minutes of her time with me chatting about art, music, activism and her hometown of Los Angeles. I hope you love it!

Food! Uncategorized

Vegan Holiday Wellington

This is what you’ll want to make for your very first vegan Thanksgiving dinner, and every Thanksgiving dinner after that, too. It’s hearty comfort food with all the best flavors of the season. Serve it with the usual trimmings and you’ll be more thankful than ever that you went vegan. Don’t forget about the slaw and gravy!

Makes 2 Roasts

1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1¼ cups chopped walnuts, toasted

1¼ cups fresh breadcrumbs

¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes

2 cups diced cremini mushrooms

1 cup finely chopped onion

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

¼ cup white wine, sherry, or no-salt-added vegetable broth

½ cup fresh or frozen corn

½ cup fresh or frozen peas

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt & pepper

1 package (1 pound) vegan puff pastry (see tip), thawed per package instructions


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Put the chickpeas, walnuts, breadcrumbs, and nutritional yeast in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Don’t overprocess or the filling will be mushy. 

Heat a large, heavy skillet (cast iron if you have one) over medium-high heat. When hot, add the mushrooms and onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the wine and scrape and mix in any brown bits from the the bottom of the skillet. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the chickpea mixture, corn, peas, and parsley and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to bind the mixture together. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Lightly flour a flat surface and roll out one sheet of the puff pastry to make a 14 x 12-inch rectangle. Spoon half the chickpea mixture onto the pastry and form it into a loaf, pressing the mixture lightly. Wrap the puff pastry around the loaf and tuck and seal the edges like a wrapped present. Repeat with the other sheet of puff pastry and the remaining chickpea mixture. Put the loaves seam-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Make five angled 3-inch slashes on the top of each loaf with a sharp knife to allow steam to escape. Mist the top of each loaf with cooking spray or brush with a little olive oil so it browns.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Per serving: 487 calories, 15 g protein, 15 g fat (6 g sat), 49 g carbohydrates, 215 mg sodium, 83 mg calcium, 7 g fiber

Tip: Pepperidge Farm brand puff pastry is vegan.


Holiday Essential! Brussels Sprouts Slaw!

Second in our Holiday Cooking Series!
I’d like to introduce you to the slaw that saves the day. Literally. It’s green and you’re gonna love it. It’s the creamy antithesis to all of the comfort food smothered in gravy. Why? Well, it’s ridiculously easy, you can easily double or triple the batch, leftovers are even better and everyone loves it, even Brussels haters. Yeah, I said it. Everyone, even your cranky, vegan disparaging uncle will like this. But you don’t have to sit next to him this year, THANKS, COVID-19!!!

We always serve this at our Thanksgiving feast. It’s always important to have lots of green at the table to balance out all the deliciously beige holiday food (I’m looking at you, potatoes and gravy). This slaw is crunchy, savory, and sweet, and the very thinly sliced Brussels sprouts help mask the fact that they actually are, well, raw Brussels sprouts. I make this early in the day so the flavors have time to mingle.

1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and very finely sliced (use a mandoline or a sharp knife)
½ cup vegan mayonnaise
¼ cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see tip)
¼ cup thinly sliced dried apricots
1 teaspoon minced or pressed garlic
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper

Put the Brussels sprouts, mayonnaise, walnuts, apricots, garlic, and lemon juice in a large bowl and toss until evenly combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss again.



Sure, canned beans are convenient. But making your own is not difficult and you get to eat the product of your labor! That’s a win. But are you confused about exactly HOW to make beans from scratch? Read and watch – it’s as easy as chopping some veggies.

  1. Get your hands on some high quality beans. We love (and so we sell) Rancho Gordo Beans. RG are heirloom beans grown in California or Mexico. They are more expensive than grocery store beans, yes, but the difference is in how they cook and taste. Often dried beans sit on the shelf for far too long, which means you are fighting against time when you cook them. If they are older beans, they will take much longer to cook, and will benefit from an overnight soak. Rancho Gordo beans are super fresh, and though they are dried beans, they are so new that the soak is not necessary.
  2. Choose your aromatic vegetables and chop ’em up. Onion, garlic, celery, and carrot are must haves. But you can add peppers or fennel or shallots… choose what goes with your recipe! Here I’m making black beans, so I tossed in a poblano pepper and some cilantro, stems and all. If you are making Cassoulet Beans, fennel, parsley and thyme would be lovely. As long as you have onion and garlic you will be fine. Just think of it like this: the water will become the gravy. Flavor it with what you want to taste. Aromatic veggies and herbs. This will all cook into the beans, coaxing maximum flavor!
  3. Rinse your beans, look for little rocks or broken beans and discard.
  4. Toss all of it in a BIG, heavy bottomed pot. Use a little oil if you like, or skip it all together. We don’t use much and don’t think the beans need it.
  5. ADD LOTS OF WATER. I add at least 8 cups to a one pound bag of beans. You want lots of water and space for the beans to cook and steam and absorb. If your pot is too small, the beans won’t cook, they’ll be fighting for water and space (if you’ve ever seen a bean fight you know how bad it can get. hahahhah ) Basically, you don’t want to have to keep adding water – just go for it and put in lots at the beginning because it will definitely cook down!
  6. Bring the whole shebang to a boil – let it boil for five minutes. Then turn it down to a simmer, cover the pot with the lid at an angle to let steam escape, and let it cook for an hour. Just make sure it’s bubbling lightly. Check it periodically and give it a stir. At about 1.5 hours, the beans should be tender with just a bit of bite. That’s when you SALT. At least a tablespoon, probably two. It sounds like a lot, but you just made A LOT OF BEANS! Let it cook another 20-30 minutes until they’re soft.

Once the beans are cooked, enjoy! Use them in a recipe where you normally would use canned beans. Or separate into smaller portions to freeze. The bean broth is delicious, and depending on the beans you cook, can be incorporated into soup recipes and the like.

I hope you love making and eating beans, no matter where you buy them! Please, if you have any questions, let me know! I’M HERE FOR YOU!!!

xoxoxo – michelle