Vegan Dracula's Revenge

Delicious roasted garlic and browned vegan sausage mingle in a creamy, cheesy sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked to golden perfect. If you like garlic, cheese, and sausage this dish is going to become a staple!

Produce On Parade - Vegan Dracula's Revenge - Delicious roasted garlic and browned vegan sausage mingle in a creamy, cheesy sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked to golden perfect. If you like garlic, cheese, and sausage this dish is going to become a staple!

Every september for years and years my family would make Dracula’s Revenge. It was my little brothers absolute favorite dish and he would always request it for his birthday. How he even found out about this oddly named pasta bake is beyond me. It seems like a weird request from a seven year old but what do I know.

For some reason, the other day, I was really craving it. Of course Dracula’s Revenge is decidedly NOT vegan but it certainly wasn’t hard to veganize this nostalgic dish. It did not disappoint! Have you ever had or heard of it before?

Produce On Parade - Vegan Dracula's Revenge - Delicious roasted garlic and browned vegan sausage mingle in a creamy, cheesy sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked to golden perfect. If you like garlic, cheese, and sausage this dish is going to become a staple!

Vegan Dracula’s Revenge


Vegan Dracula’s Revenge

By

Delicious roasted garlic and browned vegan sausage mingle in a creamy, cheesy sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked to golden perfect. If you like garlic, cheese, and sausage this dish is going to become a staple!

Ingredients
  • 1 large garlic head
  • ½ tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tube (7 oz) Gimme Lean Lightlife Sausage
  • 8 oz dry penne pasta
  • 3 tbsp vegan butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups plain, unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp salt, to taste
  • ⅛ tsp dried rosemary
  • ⅛ tsp dry rubbed sage
  • Dash of white pepper
  • A few drops of liquid smoke (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese

Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta and preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Remove the excess papery skin from the garlic head but leave the head intact; wrap the entire thing in parchment paper then aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour then remove from the oven and allow to cool to the touch. Turn up oven to 400° F.
  3. Once cool, separate the cloves and squeeze to extract garlic the pulp. Smash the garlic in a small bowl with the back of a wooden spoon to make a paste; set aside.
  4. In a large cast iron skillet heat the oil over medium-high heat. Break up the sausage into bite size pieces by hand and saute for about 5 minutes until browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. When the water is boiling, cook the pasta according to package then drain and set aside.
  6. In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for about three minutes until lightly browned. Slowly whisk in the milk, ensuring no lumps, and cook for about 8 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined; then stir in the pasta and sausage.
  7. Spray a small casserole dish with a nonstick cooking spray then transfer the pasta into the dish. Bake for 15-20 minutes until thoroughly heated. Serve hot and topped with additional cheese if you like.

Prep time:
Cook time:
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Yield: 4-6
Produce On Parade - Vegan Dracula's Revenge - Delicious roasted garlic and browned vegan sausage mingle in a creamy, cheesy sauce mixed with penne pasta and baked to golden perfect. If you like garlic, cheese, and sausage this dish is going to become a staple!

Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Have you ever thought about subscribing to the organic produce subscription service, Full Circle? Did you ever wonder how the prices compared to your local grocery store?

I’ve put my Full Circle Organic Farm Box prices head to head with the prices on organic produce from my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (Kroger) to find the most cost effective way to get that nutritious, organic produce.

Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Several years ago Todd and I wanted to eat more organic produce, especially fruits and vegetables that are a little more special, fun, and hard to get up here in Alaska. A co-worker told me about Full Circle and I thought it sounded perfect; I subscribed to Full Circle (FC) starting in 2014 until 2017. It was my hope that the FC produce would be a bit fresher than the stuff we get at our stores. Alaska is a long travel for oranges and oftentimes they don’t enjoy the arduous trip from Texas.

As health-conscious vegans (most of the time), Todd and my diet is heavily whole food plant-based. We eat a lot of fruits and veggies so I opted for the FC box that feeds 2-4 people; it ended up being the perfect size. I really loved how you’re able to customize your boxes, switching out apples for blueberries or adding Field Roast Chao ‘cheese slices’, etc. However, I eventually began to see a decline in produce and found myself writing to Full Circle every week about super wilted lettuce or slimy cilantro or rotten avocados and it just got the point that it didn’t feel the price was worth the product any longer. Full circle always kindly refunded me and halting subscription is super easy.

Slimy greens.

Slimy greens.

Rotten avocado.

Rotten avocado.

I appreciate that the poor produce could have been due to many factors. It may have been the produce itself or, more likely, it was the storage of box. At the time, Full Circle was shipping their boxes pre-packed from the States to a location in my town where I picked them up. Right before I halted my subscription they stated they were changing how they shipped and stored the boxes. They would be packaging them locally in Anchorage, Alaska then shipping them to the local locations. As of today, however, I see that you can have the boxes delivered straight to your house and strangely it was slightly cheaper to do so rather than picking up your box at a location in your area!

I wanted to try out FC again, hoping the poor produce/storage issues had been fixed. As signed up it occured to me that that now (as opposed to 2014) I can easily compare prices from Full Circle to my local grocery store, Fred Meyer (FM). Both show their prices on their website for produce. I decided to do a little cost comparison of the Full Circle box I had arranged and the same ‘box’ of organic items at Fred Meyer.

Some items I would have loved to add to my FC box but they were considerably more than the FM items. On the right side of the screen are some examples I would have liked to add to my FC box but reconsidered after seeing the lower FM prices. Full Circle is on the left and Fred Meyer on the right. Cremini Mushrooms are almost double the cost!!

listproduce.pngFull Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

Most of the items I put in my FC box were only slightly more expensive than the FM counterparts. Below you can see that the Full Circle total is $44.39. It will be delivered to my house and all the items are organic. Fred Meyer wants $30.26 for those same organic items and in the same quantity. However, if I want to have this ‘box’ delivered to my home I would need to order these items online for a $4.95 service fee then incur a $9.95 delivery charge for a total of $45.16. Alternatively, I can just pick up my ‘box’ of produce pre-shopped from the store, all ready to go, for $35.21.

To conclude, Fred Meyer is a about $15 cheaper than Full Circle (who delivers to my house). If I want to pick up my pre-shopped items at FM then it is still about $10 cheaper than FC. If I want to have FM deliver the items to my house it’s about the same price, $45.

Some items were about the same price and that’s what I added to my FC box. If I had added items to the box that were considerably more, like the mushrooms, there would be an even bigger discrepancy. Is it worth the extra money to have it delivered to your home? That’s subjective. For me, no. Even with a full-time job and a two year old, we still make it to the store every week and usually enjoy the trip as a family outing (yes, we lead quiet lives, lol). Sure, there are times I absolutely do not want to roll through a packed store with a screaming toddler but more often than not, it’s a pleasant-ish affair. If I am ever in a time crunch I can just order the items online, have them pre-shopped for me, and pick-up them up at the store.

In addition, I like to support our local agriculture at small farmers’ markets and stands. FM also carries some local produce like carrots, potatoes, and cabbage. We have a Safeway/Carrs too; it carries a decent amount of local produce, however they have a very limited selection of vegan offerings and those they do offer are really expensive. I don’t shop there often except for local produce occasionally. Alaska has no Whole Foods or Trader Joes. We do have a local natural food store but it’s a 50 mile drive and their prices are truly shocking.

Full Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison ReviewFull Circle Organic Farm Box Prices Versus Local Grocery Store Prices Comparison Review

I won’t delve into the quality comparisons between FM or FC, or the differences in selection (for example FM doesn’t ever offer sunchokes or Maitake mushrooms). That would be difficult to do and suspect to change I imagine, as well as dependent upon personal preferences. I did really enjoy the vast array of interesting fruits and strange veggies Full Circle offered but living on one income and being able to get the same organic staples locally for less… in the end pragmatism won over novelty. For now at least.

However, that doesn’t mean Full Circle isn’t right for you! I really do love what they are doing and their customer service is fantastic. I hope this information doesn’t steer you away from them if you are at peace with paying a little bit more for your organic produce. I hope this helped you, and of course prices for both entities change over the season and depending upon your location.

Anyway you can get your family to eat more produce is wonderful in my book! It’s better for the planet, the animals, and our bodies. <3

Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie

Everytime I make this pot pie it gets rave reviews. It’s really great with vegan chicken, especially for omnivores but of course it can be left out or replaced with tofu if you desire. I make my own vegan condensed soup to add to mixed vegetables and fresh spinach for a delicious filling. This dish is so easy and it’s sure to be a big hit!

Produce On Parade - Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie - Everytime I make this pot pie it gets rave reviews. It’s really great with vegan chicken, especially for omnivores but of course it can be left out or replaced with tofu if you desire. I make my own vegan condensed soup to add to mixed vegetables and fresh spinach for a delicious filling. This dish is so easy and it’s sure to be a big hit!

Have you ever been surrounded by people who are the complete opposite of you politically and with regards to your values, especially those with disparaging views towards minority groups and repressed individuals. Raise your hand up high; you’re in good company. All I can say is hang in there and laugh when you can.

I’m an Alaskan at heart but according to my beliefs I should live in Hippie-Town-Liberal-Peace-Loving Oregontown (yes, that’s a real place, but please don’t fact check it). Sometimes this really gets me down. It just plain sucks having so many folks surround you that don’t strive for equality, or peace, or tolerance. Bigotry is rampant and it’s smothering sometimes.

Just because someone doesn’t agree with your morals doesn’t make them a bad person and you may even like them but goddamn, it makes it hard sometimes. I’ve been accused of being naive and too soft-hearted on more than one occasion but I’ll put my foot down on this one. Okay, getting down from my dusty soapbox. Thank you for letting me rant, now let’s eat pie.

Produce On Parade - Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie - Everytime I make this pot pie it gets rave reviews. It’s really great with vegan chicken, especially for omnivores but of course it can be left out or replaced with tofu if you desire. I make my own vegan condensed soup to add to mixed vegetables and fresh spinach for a delicious filling. This dish is so easy and it’s sure to be a big hit!

Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie


Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie
By

Everytime I make this pot pie it gets rave reviews. It’s really great with vegan chicken, especially for omnivores but of course it can be left out or replaced with tofu if you desire. I make my own vegan condensed soup to add to mixed vegetables and fresh spinach for a delicious filling. This dish is so easy and it’s sure to be a big hit!

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp mushroom powder (optional)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup unsweetened plain soymilk, divided
  • 2 (9 in) prepared pie crusts (I buy them pre-made in the refrigerated section)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • ½ medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (10 oz) bag frozen mixed vegetables, cooked according to package
  • 1 (8 oz) package vegan ‘chicken’ strips, chopped (I use Tofurky Lightly Seasoned Chicken Meat Alternative in the refrigerated section)
  • 2 cups torn fresh baby spinach
  • 1 tsp seasoning salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp white pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour, garlic and mushroom powder; whisk frequently until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth and ½ cup of soymilk. Cook over medium heat whisking frequently until thickened, about 5-8 minutes. I like to use a hand blender towards the end to ensure a super smooth texture. Set aside.
  2. Line a 9” pie dish with the bottom crust. Poke holes all over the bottom with a fork. Preheat oven to 375°F degrees.
  3. In a large soup pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until fragrant and softened, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of soymilk, mixed veggies, chicken strips, spinach, salt, thyme, pepper. Stir well to combine then add in the soup. Mix the filling well, remove from heat and to the pie dish.
  4. Roll out the top crust and place overtop of the filling; seal the edges and remove any excess dough. Cut a few slits in the top crust to allow steam to escape; brush the top with soymilk if desired.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes until the crust is lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.


  6. Prep time:
    Cook time:
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    Yield: 1 pie (6 slices)
Produce On Parade - Easy Vegan 'Chicken' Pot Pie - Everytime I make this pot pie it gets rave reviews. It’s really great with vegan chicken, especially for omnivores but of course it can be left out or replaced with tofu if you desire. I make my own vegan condensed soup to add to mixed vegetables and fresh spinach for a delicious filling. This dish is so easy and it’s sure to be a big hit!