Day twelve of vegan challenge: throwing in a non-food resolution and then joining the gravy train

In the midst of this self-imposed #Veganuary recipe challenge, I missed an opportunity to jump on the new year’s resolution post bandwagon. Last year, I set several personal growth goals for 2014. After reviewing the list, I feel that I accomplished several of them (more yoga, growing in my relationship with Aaron, hiding my smartphone at night) while others will circle back for a soon-to-be-written 2015 goals to espouse post (I MUST GET TO THE RAMP FESTIVAL!)

To indulge my Instagram addiction (and to diversify my posts beyond food and beer), I am participating in the #npcommpix challenge sponsored by the team at Nonprofit Marketing Guide under the leadership of communications guru Kivi Leroux Miller. Check it out:


So, for yesterday – Resolution – I literally looked over my shoulder at the bookcase full of spellbinding and unread books. I. love books. It’s impossible for me to walk into a bookstore (especially used) and not walk out with something. Unfortunately, the pace of reading said books has not kept up with the purchasing, therefore leaving me with a bookcase full of unread books. Ding! That lends itself to a perfect (and I believe attainable) 2015 resolution:

booksThis is my kind of stacks on decks.

12 books. 12 months. Seems feasible. Based on Instagram feedback, I’ll be starting with “The Girls of Atomic City” by Denise Kierman. Any in this photo that you have read and would offer feedback on?

Shifting gears back to the land of #Veganuary, today’s recipe is (confession) not one I have made personally. BUT, it was made for Aaron and I by our wonderful friends Jen and Chris. Inspired by a dish from The Grit in Athens, GA (which has now been added to the bucket list), this bowl of gravy-goodness is mind-blowing good. Rich and creamy, this golden bowl will do you right (and impress any guests you have over – this is vegan?!) I will note: this recipe takes about 45 minutes to an hour start to finish, so consider this one of your investment dinner evenings. I promise: it is SO worth it!

The Grit Restaurant Golden Bowl (via BigOven.Com)
Serves 4


For Grit Yeast Gravy:
1/2 cup vegan margarine (Earth Balance rocks!)
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup unsweetened soy milk (almond could substitute)
1/4 soy sauce (or tamari)
3/4 cup hot water (or more depending on how thin you want your gravy)
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce

For Grit Style Tofu:
15 ounces extra-firm tofu
Vegetable oil (can substitute)
Soy sauce
Nutritional yeast

Sauteed vegetables:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (sub olive, sunflower)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red pepper, diced
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and then sliced
6 medium button mushrooms, quartered (or substitute other favorite mushroom)


In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, melt the margarine completely. Stir in flour and yeast until blended and continue to heat roux until mixture begins to bubble. Use only enough heat to maintain vigorous bubbling, whisking constantly for 4 minutes. This is the time required to cook the flour to smoothness, and vigorous whisking is important to avoid burning.

Continue rapid, thorough whisking and add soy milk gradually. The mixture will quickly become thick and custard-like. Combine soy sauce, water, and Worcestershire sauce and add to gravy gradually. Blend well after each addition, and do not add liquid so rapidly that gravy is very thin. If gravy does become thin from the addition of too much liquid, continued cooking will thicken it.

Set gravy aside, and reheat before serving, or hold over very low heat while preparing the rest of the Grit Golden Bowl. Add more water as needed to maintain a good consistency if holding over low heat.

(note: I halved the gravy recipe in The Grit cookbook to come up with these measurements, so you might have to adjust the flour/yeast and water measurements a bit to arrive at the desired consistency (we always make the full amount, because we use the gravy on other things))

Cut tofu into cubes smaller than playing dice. Lightly oil a non-stick skillet and place over high heat. Allow oil to heat slightly, and add tofu. Saute, tossing with a non-metal spatula until evenly and lightly golden brown. Sprinkle lightly with soy sauce, saute briefly to further brown tofu. Remove from skillet, draining and discarding any excess fluid.

Rinse and wipe skillet dry, lightly oil and place it over high heat. Allow oil to become very hot and add tofu. Saute tofu, tossing with a non-metal spatula almost constantly until very well browned. Sprinkle with soy sauce to taste. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast to coat tofu cubes and, tossing vigorously, saute for a few seconds and remove from heat. Keep warm in the oven while you finish cooking the veggies.

Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over medium-high to high heat. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent. Add bell pepper and saute for 1 or 2 minutes, until slightly cooked, but still firm. Add zucchini and yellow squash, and saute for another minute or two, until squash is slightly cooked but still firm. Add mushrooms and cook until they give up their water. (note- other veggies of your choice can be substituted; onions are always a good base, and the zucchini and yellow squash go well with the gravy, and so we always use these as a base, but we’ve also used other bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, and peas with tasty outcomes).

Spoon 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice into a bowl, top with veggies, tofu, and gravy, and enjoy!

For a tasty option, you can also garnish with shredded mild cheddar. (Veganize it or just leave it off!) We had it without cheese, and it was perfect.

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