Happiness is…

Happiness is…

…spending Saturday in a coffee shop where the owner and a good chunk of the patrons greet you by name with a hug, playing Diplomacy for 5 1/2 hours with one of your favorite people in the world and five new friends, then going home to cuddle and eat pie.

…spending Sunday on a photo shoot in the park, taking great photos in gorgeous winter sunlight of another one of your favorite people in the world, then coming home, cooking vegan mac and cheese and kale with kale sauce, making berry margaritas, and talking and playing Dominion and Race for the Galaxy until almost midnight.

It was a truly splendid weekend.

The margaritas – first cherry, then blackberry, made with frozen berries – we made following this recipe, which had us first make lime syrup from lime juice and agave nectar. Yum! (Yes, almost all of my drinking glasses are actually Bonne Maman jam jars…) (And, in case you’re wondering why they look different from each other, the drink on the left has a salt rim and the drink on the right has a sugar rim.)

The vegan mac and cheese is a recipe my beloved fellow-vegan friend and I have made at least four times over the last couple of months. He comes over, I ask, “What do we want for dinner?,” and we invariably end up making this mac and cheese. I’ve made Veganomicon’s “Mac Daddy” with all its variations, I’ve made Gluten-Free Goddess’s vegan baked mac and cheese, and tons of other recipes besides. But the one we keep coming back to is a simple recipe my friend found on VegWeb that we have slowly perfected as we make it again and again. It’s not soy-free or particularly healthy in any way. It’s just really, really easy to make and really, really good. Basically, happiness in a casserole dish!

Easy, Delicious Baked Vegan Mac and “Cheese”
Recipe adapted from VegWeb

1 1/2 pounds gluten-free pasta of your choice, preferably macaroni (I like Tinkyada brown rice pasta)

“Cheese” Sauce:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened nondairy milk
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup Earth Balance
2/3 cup water
1/3 cup tamari (or slightly less to start with – you don’t want it to get too salty)
2/3 (12-ounce) block of firm (not silken) tofu
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon paprika
A few dollops of mustard, optional
Salt to taste (you probably won’t need this)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Boil water in a big pot and cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Add all of the “cheese” sauce ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. If the sauce is too thick, add more water. Too thin or too overpoweringly salty from the tamari, add more tofu.

3. Once pasta is cooked, drain and put it in the baking pan (about the size of a brownie pan). Pour the “cheese” sauce over the pasta.

4. Bake until the top of the pasta looks slightly browned and crispy, about 25 minutes. (It sometimes takes waaaay longer for me, so use your best judgement!)

2 comments on “Happiness is…

  1. Tes says:

    Wow your mac & cheese sounds realy healthy and delicious🙂

  2. Mary says:

    This looks amazing, thanks for the post, I can’t wait to try out the recipe!

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