Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year's Resolutions & Spicy Vodka Lasagna


So it's been like 3 weeks, give or take, since I last posted. Twenty-four whole days to be exact.


But I must admit, during the time I was off from work, I didn't use the internet at all. Not even once. And *looking around to make sure no one's listening too closely* I LOVED IT. I know, I know. As a blogger, such a comment is like treason. But I've got to admit, it really was kind of great. NOT to get you scared. I *will* still be faithfully blogging here. But man oh man, is it nice once in a while to not be beholden to the interwebs. *sigh*

So yes: it's the New Year finally.

And I know a lot of hipsters think New Year's Resolutions to be uncool, but I'm not one of them.

So here's my list of New Year's Resolutions for 2009:

  • Write more poetry/fiction--get a rhythm down so I'm not all rusty and clunking along anymore like a 5-legged robot.

  • Stop drinking alcohol on weeknights, except on special occasions--this is a variation on the "lose weight" resolution that usually makes it on folks' lists. I could use a little bit of deflabbing, but I think indulging in alcohol only on the weekends is a good start.

  • Keep up this winning-streak with N/A.

  • More frequently place myself in situations that I would normally avoid due to uncomfortability.

  • Get it on with your mom more often.

  • Wow--I know I had some more when I was talking to N/A about them, but now I can't remember. *sigh*

Now onto the food!

Since the reason I haven't posted in so long is because of the holidays, let's start off with that for today.

I'm not religious. But I do like X-mas. There's just something warm & squishy about it--the hustle and bustle (as long as it doesn't include people getting trampled to death by crazed shoppers), the snow, snuggling under blankets with loved ones, X-mas lights, friends in town, my cat Zooey trying her damnedest to figure out how to reach my little X-mas tree. Good stuff.

This X-mas, I spent X-mas eve with N/A. And it was a wonderful and lovely night, one whose details I refuse to indulge 'cause they're what made it special. So MEH!!!!

X-mas day I spent dinner with (most of) the family. We accumulated at my mom's, and we chowed on delicious grub, boozed, and bullshit.

My mom made mushroom paprikash (w/the world's most perfect dumplings), black bean & corn salsa, and pumpkin oatmeal cookies. My brother whipped up some rice with peppers. And I scrounged together a lasagna and some VwaV chocolate chip cookies.

It was a DELICIOUS delicious night.

Most of the recipes have already been posted here, but the lasagna recipe was my own creation, so I'll post that at least today. It makes for a pretty hefty and spicy lasagna, one that even my brother (the constant vegan-skeptic) really liked. So enjoy!

Oh, and that there's a pic of what I think may be my favorite X-mas ornament, which my bff got me one year for X-mas. Doesn't it rock?

And now: Time to play catch-up on all the vegan blogs I've not read over the past three weeks. Wish me luck!



  • One batch vodka sauce--recipe below (I omitted the almonds, but I'm sure it'd taste just as good with them)

  • One box of lasagna noodles, cooked

  • One 1 lb. bag of veggie "ground-beef" crumbles

  • One tube Gimme Lean "sausage"

  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 1-2 T. olive oil

  • 2 t. Italian seasonings

  • One batch of tofu-ricotta recipe below

  • Vegan parmesan, to taste


Whip up both the vodka sauce and tofu-ricotta according to the directions below. Follow the directions on the box of lasagna noodles and cook accordingly.

Heat up your olive oil in a large pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add your "sausage" and smoosh it up with a fork as it cooks. (It'll be mushy and clumpy at first, but as it begins to brown you can crumble it apart with a fork.) You'll want it to be the consistency of crumbles. Cook until browned. Add your "ground-beef" crumbles. Cook until browned and heated through. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400F. Spoon a thin layer of vodka sauce over the bottom of a lasagna pan. Cover with a layer of lasagna noodles. Cover with 1/2 the "meat" mix. Spoon out some vodka sauce over the meat and smooth. Cover with another layer of noodles. Smooth the tofu-ricotta across them. Add some more vodka sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Top with the rest of the "meat" and a little more sauce. Add a final layer of noodles and spoon out the rest of your vodka sauce over the top until noodles are totally covered. Sprinkle a generous amount of vegan parm over the top.

Cover with foil and cook for about 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook about 30-40 more minutes or until heated through.

Let cool for 10-15 minutes, slice, and serve.

Serves 7-10.


  • 4 t. olive oil

  • 8 cloves minced garlic

  • 1/2 t. crushed red pepper

  • Two 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes

  • 1/2 c. vodka

  • 1/2 t. dried thyme

  • 1/2 t. dried oregano

  • Salt, to taste

  • A few dashes fresh black pepper

  • 1 c. sliced or slivered almonds

  • 1/4 c. finely chopped fresh basil, plus a little extra for garnish


Preheat a saucepan over medium/low heat. Add the oil, garlic and crushed red pepper to the saucepan and saute for about a minute, until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Add the crushed red tomatoes, vodka, thyme, oregano, salt and black pepper. Cover, and turn the heat up a bit to bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Once the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the almonds. Use an immersion blender to blend the almonds into the sauce until creamy and only slightly grainy. Add the basil to the sauce.

(Recipe from VwaV, Posted at


  • 1 lb. firm tofu, pressed

  • 2 t. lemon juice

  • 2 t. olive oil

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/4 t. salt

  • 1/4 c. nutritional yeast flakes

  • handful fresh basil leaves, chopped fine (ten leaves or so) -I just used some dried basil

  • dash fresh black pepper


In a large bowl, mush the tofu up with your hands, till it's crumbly.

Add lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper and basil. Mush with hands again, this time you want it to get very mushy so squeeze through your fingers and mush until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese. May take 2-5 minutes.

Add olive oil, stir with fork. Add nutritional yeast and combine all ingredients well. Use a fork now, because the oil will make it sticky.

(Recipe from Veganomicon, posted at Recipe Exchange)

PS. Anyone know what happened to the PPK website??

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