28 August 2006

*Some AZ Flare* ...Minus Mountains, Cacti, Scorpions and Sunsets

I know I told you all one time to not fall out of your chair upon viewing a Tofurky sandwich on my blog, as it was not intended for me to eat. What you see above here *is* and *was* for me to eat and I am sure happy that I was open-minded one day (to a particular food, that is). So, if you instinctively fell out, get up now because yes I did eat this. If you didn't fall out of your chair and think I'm a huge nerd... that's ok, too. For those of you who do not already know, I am not a faux meat/cheese person and I cringe even at vegan steak sandwiches. I have tried a Boca burger or two, I do not mind black bean patties as long as they are piled with greens and ketchup, but mostly I stay far away from anything between a bun or that is faux meat. I won't even try anything "fake" from an all-organic, all-vegan restaurant here in town. Ray thinks that's crazy.

Recently, I discovered Sunshine Burgers. These are fabulous, all organic, do not resemble nor taste like anything that is supposed to be from a dead animal, full of nutrition and good stuff grown from the Earth, and about a dollar a piece for a pack of three. Overall, these patties (I don't like to call them burgers) are wonderful and we grill them on the vegan-George F-grill and it only takes about 1 or 2 minutes. How easy is that!? I've seen another type of Sunshine Burger and they already come with a bun. That reminds me too much of gas-station-sandwiches and I am never in too big of a hurry, nor have a craving for a bun where I must buy a "burger" pre-built. I'll pass on those, even if they are all vegan and all organic. The Sunshine Burgers (patties to me) have been eating up around here on sprouted Ezekiel buns but I only use the bottom bun. No, I don't support the A-word diet, I just really can't stomach a whole entire bun, patty and what ever else I may have on the plate. Plus, too much bun takes away from the rest. The photo above is shown with the full bun for your viewing pleasure.
Above photo: Taken in the *real* Southwest on my patio. No, I can't see over the brick wall (something that the majority of AZ homes have- weird), no we don't have catci in the neighborhood, and no the palm trees are not native to AZ. Now check out the lovely list of all organic ingredients. These patties are wonderful, I love how it is free of soy, wheat and bullshit. Not that I mind anything soy or wheat, but for vegans who eat a lot of soy or wheat, this is a nice change of pace.
Now here's my plate with the top of the bun ready to be tossed outside to the birds. I even throw bread "like a girl" I was told the other day... What you see here is a huge bowl of organic yukon gold mashed potatoes made with soymilk and Earth Balance. Sea salt and fresh ground pepper were added as well as some minced garlic. Yum. I served this with a side of sweet summer organic corn and you can see the ketchup glob under the lettuce. I don't care that I'm 25, I still need ketchup on some things. It's 100% organic ketchup, by the way. Ray eats this with Veganaise on one side of the bun and a ton of Bone Suckin' Sauce on the other bun. The website shows one jar priced at almost $2 more than we buy it for at Whole Foods. You can also get it at places like Cost Plus World Market. I don't care for either of the above condiments.
This photo below is freaky. Doesn't it look like cow-burgers? I didn't realize how freakish looking these were until I posted the photo on the computer. In "real life" these don't look as burgery. I made grill marks on the Foreman by turning the patties 90 degrees by lifting with a knife.
EDIT TO ADD AND A HUGE ***WARNING***: I just realized a huge factor... I have raved above about the South West Sunshine Burgers. Keep in mind (as I didn't) that the bright yellow and red packaging is the same on the Original Sunshine burgers as well as the SouthWest. I accidentally bought a box of the "regular" kind, attempted to eat it for lunch, had 1/2 of it, and decided to dig into a pint of ice cream. Here's the thing: the SouthWest Sunshine burgers are everything I was talking about above and these are awesome. Unless you like the taste of a broccoli burger, I highly suggest not trying the regular kind. I don't even think there was broccoli in it. The ingredients are almost the same, minus black beans and a few other things, but the Original ones are freakishly green and I did my best to take down 1/2 of it, I even slathered ketchup on both sides of the patty. No luck. So, beware... if you do go for the Original ones (which I hear are easier to come by than SouthWest), don't say I didn't warn you, but if you do like them, more power to you. I simply returned them at WFM in exchange for some Gardenburger Chipotle Black Bean patties. Sorry this warning is so late, this all happened today after my big rant! (End of Warning)

On to the next business: Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy from VwaV. Let me tell you "yum". I have never been a gravy person. I didn't grow up with it, I never wanted to try it, and I always knew it was made with blood. This is a totally different scenario here. I think it was my de-virginizing to gravy. First off, this is packed with nutrition, from the nutritional yeast, chickpeas, onions and garlic, to the herbs, spices and no blood! This stuff is amazing and I apologize for this photo doing no justice at all. I have made this gravy twice now and it was even better the second time around. I am now a gravy fan, but only if it's Punk Rock.
Here's a blurry photo of the gravy. This was from the first batch and my first bite, so I was hesitant to pour it (like Ray did) all over the top of the mashed potatoes. The second time, I loaded it up!
Moving on: Just like the Sunshine patties, mashed potatoes and gravy, I have made Chipotle, Corn, and Black Bean Stew from VwaV twice now. I have made corn fritters several times now and plan on using fresh cilantro next time. I still have a ton left from the stew. You can now see that I am breaking in my VwaV book based on the recipes. If you saw my book, you'd think I have had it for a whole year. Or maybe you'd think it got sucked in by a natural disaster. I can be a messy cook... Anyway, this stew was great, a bit on the tomato-y side, but really hardy and "southwestern". This photo was taken from the first batch. I cut the potatoes way too large and they were a bit of a hinderance while eating. I also used dried cilantro instead of fresh like the recipe wanted me to. For the second time around, I used one less potato than the recipe called for and cut them up way smaller. I also got some local organic fresh cilantro and tossed that in. To my dissapointment this stew wasn't black-beany enough so I added a second can to the second batch that I made a few days later. The stew was served with blue corn tortilla chips the second time around and probably Seduction Bread the first. I also used the juice of 1.5 limes instead of just 1 the second time around.
Again, the first batch of black bean stew. I must say, fresh cilantro makes a big difference and I enjoyed the extra juice of the lime more this time around. I still have 4 servings worth of leftovers.
Not only have I made the above repeats at least twice each, I've also been making fruit-filled crepes with Maple Butter Cream (from a tested recipe for Dreena's newest cookbook), chocolate chip banana pancakes with blueberry syrup and kiwi (part of Banana Bliss pancakes from Vive le Vegan, part of my own magical creations, and Blueberry Maple Syrup from Vive le Vegan), Sloppy Lenties of course, cereal with vanilla hemp granola, many salads, and what would life be like for me without... ice cream. I just had to throw "ice cream" in there, even though that is a daily given, I didn't have a sweet photo to post. So that's that. I plan on branching out a bit, I guess I'm hooked on a few VwaV recipes... and flavors of my residence, the Southwest.

Most importantly, I Netflix-ed The Future of Food and I will go into it more some other time. For now, it is a good film to see. Sorry Vicki (and everyone else) I still haven't seen An Inconvienent Truth, but I plan on getting it on video. Back to The Future of Food... I don't know where I've been for 2 years, but it came out in 2004 and is about GMOs, farmers, corporations, politics of course, and all sorts of aspects of biotechnology. There is a microbial ecologist in the documentary and I am thinking of maybe pursing a Master's in this area (not due to this movie only, of course). Anyway, I watched this 3 times this weekend (to add to my redundancy of everything lately) and I attempted to take notes but then realized I was practically writing down the whole script of the movie. I have so much to say about it, but mostly it makes my stomach cringe, I get pissed off at my government and huge corporations that suck, and I will keep eating as many organics as possible. I even wear organic cotton when I can. This film told me a lot of what I knew already but I like the perspective it comes from. Go rent this film please.


maybepigscanfly said...

I'm not a fan of fake/foux meats either. I know that I definitely don't miss the taste of meat at all (although sometimes I miss bbq sauce). These sunshine burgers seem like something I might venture to try. I love that they're soy and wheat free- cause we all know that vegans get enough soy. It is great to know that there's a "patty" out there that doesn't taste meaty, or like a burger.

Thanks for the movie recommendation- looking forward to renting it soon!

Oh I hope that the dizziness junk is thing of the past by now!


Johanna3 said...

your food looks good, i like the idea of the soy free ones.

i hope you feel better.

i will be bloggin too, im envy of all the veggy blogger girls :) so i want to be one more.
i must say im not so good in english, less in the computer theme so any tip will be apreciated.
here the link if you want to go there:

JAM*tacular said...

Thanks for the sunshine burger tip - I added to my co-op list :)


Anonymous said...

Regarding the South West Organic "patties" the ingredients are very harmless and always in abundance at my house. This might be something I would be able to put together on my own. I think I would enjoy it with a nice dollop of guacamole!

I blogged about The Future of Food a few weeks ago when hubby and I finally saw it. Unfortunately, like you, I couldn't say anything about the movie other than it gives me nightmares. Marty and I have tried to explain it to other people but where do you begin? It covers so much information and leaves me crying and angry. I will watch it again (we now own it) but haven't been able to because I am still so full of emotional rage against our government and society. I know we should feel lucky that we live in a country where we are given freedoms many other countries do not have but so often I am left with a bitter hatred towards the greed that our political climate is based on.

Ok, ok... I have to stop now. I'm getting all shook up again.

Are you feeling less dizzy?

vegancore said...

Everything looks awesome! Those patties and the gravy especially. I have yet to find a veggie burger/pattie that I really like. I've never seen that kind around here, unfortunately.

There is no shame in ketchup!

KleoPatra said...

You are my Sunshine, my only Sunshine... those "burgers" look sooper fab. Love the cactus guy on the package. He got me a-smilin'. The patties look excellent and i would do what you did with bun and all sorts of other fixin's on it.

Good-looking gravy and corn there with the mashed potatoes. YUMMERZ in the SUMMERZ!!

Whose hand's in that salad bowl?! Hmmmmmmmmm...

Saw "An Inconvenient Truth" while on vacation the week before last and it was disturbing. The movie you saw sounds just as upsetting. But i'll see it because i want to be informed. Thank you for blogging about it, as did Crystal not long ago.

Hope you are happy and healthy again. This post felt very "up" so i'm thinkin' you are doing well, Leslie. Thinking good thoughts for you in the Arizona sunshine...

(Back to the song again...)

Cherie Anderson said...

Hmm, I might have to try those Sunshine burgers, if I can find them here. Thanks!

Lindy Loo said...

You should definitely check out the new Peter Singer book (The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter) if you're interested in the wide variety of stuff you mentioned in your last paragraph. It gets into pretty much every one of the issues you mentioned, and it *just came out* so it has very current stats. Is good good good stuff. He's a brilliant philosopher and able to state things very simply and sensically while keeping the material interesting to read. I definitely recommend.

Anonymous said...

Well... if you're giving the gravy a thumbs up I just might have to break out VwaV again.

I added The Future of Food to my Netflix cue as well. Thanks for the recommendation!

theONLYtania said...

Those burgers look good. And with an ingredient label that simple.. I kind of want to try to make them myself! Hmmm.

The stew looks good too. My college only sells vegetable cups that have peppers, celery, broccoli and carrots. I wonder if I can make those into a stew, hehe.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

Aw Leslie I love those burgers too! I rarely buy them as I just forget about that they exist.
I love that you grilled them, I've never even thought of that..

Everything looks pneumonal!

kaivegan said...

Yes, I was surprised to see the first photo, but I'm also glad you're trying new things!

And another surprise to me that you are making stews! I think I'm ready to get back into soups now since you've inspired me (again).

If you see a soup/stew post on my blog soon, it's because I first saw it here!

laura jesser said...

Those patties do look freakishly like real meat... but if I ever find them in store I will most likely give them a try. I also like the look of the stew from VWaV--I love black beans and may actually try this tomorrow! Will definitely pick up some fresh cilantro!

The movie you rented sounds like it would be very interesting, and I hope I can rent it soon. I just want to let you know that you really inspire me to be more concerned about the *quality* of the foods that go into my body, even the veggies. As a full-time student whose husband is a full-time unpaid missionary, we can't buy organic as often as we would like. I know a day will come soon when we can convert more and more of our diet. Anyway, just wanted to thank you and...yeah. I'll watch the film! Peace.

Melody said...

PRCPG is soo good! I haven't had it over mashed potatoes yet, but I can't wait to do so..

I can't stand most commercial burgers either.. I like to make my own veggie burgers... but the latest batches I've made have been to meaty for me.. but my family likes them, so I make them.

Just call me Orangie said...

All the food looks great! Thank you for posting that the sunshine burgers taste good. I'm a celiac, along with being a vegan, so almost no faux meat products are gluten-free. But the sunshine burgers. And I've wanted to try them for a while, but I've been kinda scared too, because almost anything that's vegan and gluten-free (that's a faux meat or cheese product) because they're nasty (except Vegan Gourmet cheese, that stuff's awesome). Now maybe I'll try the sunshine burgers next time I go to the health food store :)

funwithyourfood said...

The sunshine burgers do look freak-ishly real.

I'm not a fan of gravy at all. never really have been and haven't had any sort of "gravy" since i went Veg.

I love the black bean stew too

now onto the movie. I haven't seen it yet but it's getting added to the list. thanks for giving a mini review


tamara said...

i am *obsessed* with my VwaV, so this post made me happy. i made the punk rock chickpea gravy when i was interning at farm sanctuary and it was a hit.. so good! i also made the spanakopita there among other things, which i highly recommend, along with the choc. chip cookies, hehe.

Julie said...

Nice post! Where did you get the Sunshine Burgers? At the co-op? They look great. Oh, and I did ::gasp:: when I saw the fake meat! hehe.

I so want to try that punk rock gravy...everyone raves about it! Also, that soup looks yummy.

SusanV said...

Thanks for recommending the patties. I'm not big on meaty-tasting things either, so these might be something I like. If they ever show up down here, I'll give them a try.

Dori said...

I'm going to try to find that movie, looks interesting. I've also been looking for the Mc Liable Trial someone mentioned some time ago. I now have a list of wanna read/see books and movies in a little notebook that I carry in my purse so when I get to the library I can search for them. Love the wealth of info reaching us these days.Glad to hear you are cooking again (unfortunately the temp is still so high for you, but then you DO live in a desert). :)

Isil S. said...

I invited you to join to food bloggers meme on my blog. Check it out when you have time, please feel free to ignore if you don't want to participate.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of that movie. Sounds interesting, as does the book mentioned above.

I love ingredient lists where everything is familiar. Good find.

Geraldine said...

Your food photos look yummy! I am a big fan of veggie burgers but some of them are NOT what they should be.This ingredient list looked pretty darn good.

Ive seen your comments on a lot of blogs, glad you stopped by Veggies...your blog is very cool.


raising_kahne said...

haha. When I first came here I saw the pic and thought"Oh, looks like Ray's still enjoying the veggie patties." Then I saw that it was for you, and I was in shock for a second! Those actually look yummy! Most I can find resemble meat too much, so I get scared to eat them(I know, Im weird.) The gravy looks yummy. I used to love gravy, now I cringe whenever I think about it being made with the fat from a formerly-living pig. Looks like Ill have to get VwaV! Ive been doing many repeats lately also. Sloppy Lentils are a favorite of mine. The only things I do different are: More spice(almost a T. of chili flakes), no tamari, more tomato sauce, no kale, but add a lot of frozen organic corn while it's cooking! I like mine in pita bread.

Also, I notice that you love salads. I also do, but I cannot find a dressing that I like/will eat. Do you have one that you semi-follow?? I cant stand anything with apple cider vinegar in it, and the only things I have are olive oil, red wine vinegar, and dijon mustard(I <3 dressings with mustard). Good to see you back!

yeahbutnobutyeahbut said...

That food looks yummy! I tried to get a copy of VwaV from my local bookshop Waterstones in the UK, they tried for about two months to get a copy but couldn't manage. I think I'm definately going to try and get a copy from Amazon now, I need that book!!

Your blog is cool btw, I came across it when I was reading comments on Vegan Lunch Box which I got from a link from the Vegan Family House in Scotland which is pretty good, if you ever get time you should check it out!

Best wishes from Suzy in England x x

Vicki said...

i'm certainly hooked on vwav as well, and the Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy really does rock -- my idaho potatoes love it!

i just added the future of food to my netflix queue - it's at position 14, & i'll holler back when i see it.

how are you feeling, les? i hope much better -- all this amazing food must help! thanks for sharing the SW w/us.

Jody from VegChic said...

So many of you are talking about that movie, sounds like I will need t buy or rent it.

Sunshine burgers...Tommy loves sunflower seeds, so of course she really digs the plain ones. I thought they were ok. I'll give the black bean ones a try sometime based on your reviews.

The VwaV gravy is on my list to try and those stew looks very tasty. Oh and I am jealous of that maple crepe recipe from Dreena. Man, I can't wait for that cookbook.

Glad to see you posting and cooking. Hope that means you are recovering!

EatPeacePlease said...

Teresa, regarding "vegans get enough soy", while I do find that true (in my case especially), there are many who are allergic and I think the minimal list of ingredients was a big turn-on to me buying them. I hope you do rent the film.

Johanna, I commented back to you on your blog. Maybe if you can find these, special-internet-order them, or I can ship them to you, your daughter would eat them? I love your new blog and I plan on commenting only en Espanol.

JAM, let me know what you think of the patties. I think the SW ones are convienetly awesome.

Crystal (VV), I think these patties are something any of us can put together on our own. It reminds me of some of Dreena's patty recipes. As for the film, I think it was your blog that inspired me to rent it but I still am at a lack of words (in an explaining to others sort of way). With people I've seen it with, conversation is fine, but I would rather just have everyone watch for themselves. I plan on buying the movie one day. I am feeling less dizzy, but still dizzy. It's driving me crazy and I'm just trying to forget about it, thanks for asking.

Vegancore, maybe you can ask your local co-op or health food market to stock them or special order them. I know, I know, no shame in ketchup...

Kleo, you made me smile (and sing along)! I love how you have so many musical refrences (and I get them all!). Funny, because I was going to title this post "Sunshine Daydream" as I had the Grateful Dead song, Sugar Magnolia in my head with the lyrics "sunshine daydream". Then I had your song in my head the rest of the day after seeing the comment, and a while later I had "Ain't no Sunshine when she's Gone" in my head... Thanks for your kind wishes, and as in most cases, the AZ sunshine really does brighten up days.

Cherie A, if you can't find them, try requesting them or order online if you can.

Lindy Loo, I'll check out that Peter Singer book, thanks for the reference.

Pure Zuke, you would love this gravy! I know it. Let me know when you've seen TFOF.

theONLYtania, these patties could be made at home. Do you ever request foods at your cafeteria?

Jess, I can see how it would be hard to remember these, as they are in such tiny yellow boxes usually lingering somewhere random in the frozen section. Good to see you back, but when I keep trying to get to your blog (which I have successfully done twice), it keeps freezing up my computer.

Kai, I'm glad you were just surprised, not totally shocked! I can't wait to see your newest cooking creations, I've really missed seeing them on your blog.

Laura Jesser, did you try the black bean stew? Let me know what you think of it. I hope you can rent the film soon too. I appreciate your comments about me and my blog and I commend you for doing "what you do" as everyone has unique situations, but yours must be really tough. At least you have the mindset...

Melody, so what did you have the gravy with? I don't really see you as the buying frozen stuff-type, but if you are making them for your family, why don't you add more ingredients that you DO like?

JCMOrangie, I'm glad you found this post and I hope you can get some Sunshine Burgers and that you enjoy them. It must be hard on such a strict diet, but the more demand there is for "wheat and soy free" minus a lot of other stuff too, there will be a lot more products out there. Let me know how you liked them (or if you didn't).

Teddy, you should try this gravy, it's more like a sauce to me, than gravy. I love the ingredients!

Tamara, I would love love love to make the spanakopita, but my oven is not my friend. And you're recommending cookies to me?! You are killing me.

Julie, so you got my text message yesterday? There are about 15 boxes at the co-op, about 69 cents more than WFM, but find them where you can... I'm going to see if they have them at the Sunflower Market too.

Susan V, if they show up there, try them, but I would imagine if you made them at home they'd be amazing. Maybe you could do some sort of Southern Patties?!

Dori, let me know what you think of the movie. I keep a notepad too for so many different reasons. I love the wealth of info reaching us these days too, but I especially love communicating with other vegs from all over the world and learning about bits and pieces of "life". And yes, it's still hot here, about 105 F.

Isil, I will do my top 5 soon, thanks for inviting me.

Megan, go rent the movie... and eat some patties.

Geraldine, I hate seeing veggie burgers filled with egg whites, dairy, MSG, other fillers and crap, etc. These were ideal. Thanks for the comment, and I enjoyed reading your blog as well.

Savanna, yes, Ray is still enjoying the patties, but probably even more now since I am into them. As for you and your apple cider vinegar issues, this can be a tough one, but just replace the ACV with another vinegar or a tangy citrus or something. I would recommend to you that you might want to try ACV again in another dish or something because you might like it. There is vinegar in mustard so I was surprised to hear your enthusiasm for it. I semi-follow many of Dreena's recipes but they have ACV in it. I have a few recipes that I will dig up for you.

Suzy in England, if you can't get one on Amazon, I'd be happy to get it and ship it for you. I'm at the PO often and if you send me money for the book and shipping, I can get it from many stores around here. What do you think of that?

Vicki, I am jealous of your Idaho spuds! It's funny, we have about 50 movies on our que and when Ray wasn't home I quickly moved the Future of Food to the #1 spot and it "just came in the mail one day"! I *had* to see it. I am still not 100% but sick of saying I'm dizzy. Thanks Vicki.

Jody, you should rent the movie and then decide if you want to buy it or not. I thought the green sunshine burgers were horrible and I was lucky WFM was able to let me return a box of 2/3. I think you will enjoy the gravy when you try it. Good to see you here commenting. Thanks!

laura jesser said...

Hey Leslie, I did make the black bean stew. I followed your lead and added more black beans than the recipe calls for. We loved it! There is a picture of it on my blog, if you're interested.

Shananigans said...

Those burgers sound delicious, I love that simple wheat and soy free ingredient list! I liked the chickpea gravy as well, you might want to try the miso gravy too (P 147), it wasn’t what I expected from a miso base but it is very tasty. Fresh cilantro definitely makes all the difference, and it’s pretty cheap! I try to keep it around most of the time. I add a couple big chopped handfuls of it to any Indian or southwestern type dishes/soups I make. Thanks for the heads up on the documentary, I’ve added it to my netflix queue.

yeahbutnobutyeahbut said...

Hi Leslie, I've managed to order a copy from Amazon.co.uk

Thank you very much for your offer, it was very much appreciated!

cherios said...

Do they have Sol Cuisine down there?


The Spicy Bean Burgers are beyond awesome. They DO have soy in them, but the ingredient list is nice and short all the same. Delish. Not meat like at all - you can even see bits of corn etc in it.

Kate said...

You write so much, I am so impressed by how detailed all your posts are. I have never purchased faux meats before so I really would not know what tastes good or not but thank you for the warning, just in case. Your post has also made me want to make the punk rock gravy for my first vegan Thanksgiving.