Easy Vegan Family Meal. HSUS Party too..

This fancy, golden plate is loaded up with Vegan Southern Comfort eats with flavor combos I crave. It's all here: creamy, spicy, zesty, crispy, savory, sweet, sassy and a little bit of green too.

The eats: leftover cheesy shells, lovely wilted spinach, zesty sautéed sauerkraut, savory rice and red beans and some spicy Buffalo Bites. Grab a plate and dive into this buffet of deliciousness.

Ahead, get the recipes to create my Southern Comfort Plate and hear what I was up to this weekend!.. Including my time at the Humane Society Wrap Party here in LA - and my brush with fashion destiny as I pulled on my very first Vaute Couture coat. Emerald, plush, vegan fashion heaven..

Plate or Bowl? I'm not really a traditional kind of girl when it comes to dinner plating. Casual, cozy is my everyday style. I actually prefer my meals served in a bowl rather than on a plate. My bowl components piled high - usually a base of hefty greens, chopped veggies, fruit and grains - some steaming hot vegan protein on top. Sizzling tempeh, tofu triangles, rice, quinoa, beans and more. Maybe some mashed sweet potato off the the side. Herb roasted mushrooms. So many options all to be served via a cozy bowl.

But once in a while I get inspired to use the classic large plate as my vehicle for a meal. Wide fancy rim. This plate is a lovely golden yellow color. So traditional, yes? What's not to like. Traditional meal it is. Except of course that this family meal is plant-based perfection...

Love these crispy Buffalo Bites (only 3 ingredients!)..

Humane Society Wrap Party. This past Sunday I attended the Humane Society's annual "cast and crew" wrap party at Sony Studios. It's sort of a holiday party for animal lovers. The event featured a vegan brunch by Wolfgang Puck Catering as well as a speaking presentation from HSUS President Wayne Pacelle (love him) and a ceremony honoring Glee actress Charlotte Ross for her inspiring work for animals - most notably chimpanzees - details on Charlotte's website. Both Wayne and Charlotte were brilliant to listen to. So inspiring.

Charlotte Ross ended her award acceptance speech with a very moving story about Gretchen Wyler (Genesis Awards founder) and longtime animal activist. It brought tears to Charlotte's eyes, and many of those listening. During Charlotte's speech, one thing stood out to me. When she described her connection with chimpanzees,

"I looked into their eyes for the first time and saw myself."

I love that. I so often look into the eyes of animals and feel I see myself as well. The emotion, zest for life and love is something that radiates in both humans and animals. I truly adore being around people of all ages and backgrounds who share that common bond of loving animals with a passion. If you've never attended an "Animal Organization" event I highly recommend that you seek one out. The Humane Society has always been one of my faves.

Anyway, I also was thrilled to bid on and win a brilliant emerald green Vaute Couture coat in the silent auction. I love this coat. Leanne (VC founder) is brilliant. Read her VGP interview here. LOVE it...

Me off to the HSUS party at Sony Studios - then later with my new silent auction Vaute Couture coat..

And just to share the spotlight with my favorite California kitty cat..

Party Eats! Oh, and I can't forget the food. Brunch eats by Wolfgang Puck Catering were fab. Tempeh bacon. Mounds of the stuff. Tofu scramble. Fresh fruit. Vegan muffins. Crunchy cashew cabbage slaw. Crispy morning potatoes. Yum..

My new Urban Outfitters tee and vegan brunch spread (tempeh bacon)..

And now my own vegan feast - here are the recipes to create your own Southern Comfort Vegan Plate..

* Simple Wilted Spinach (see below)
* Sauteed Sauerkraut
* Cheez and Shells Pasta
* Spicy Panko-crusted Buffalo Nuggets OR sub with Toasty Pumpkin Fritters
* Cheezy Red Beans and Rice (see below)
..maybe add some sweet potato biscuits too!
..many more "southern vegan" recipes in this post (including cole slaw and crispy seitan fingers)

Wilted Spinach: Simply add a bag of baby spinach to your hot sauté pan either after or during your sauerkraut sauté process. You can ad a splay of EVOO and or apple cider vinegar too. I also added in a sprinkle of black pepper and nutritional yeast as the spinach wilted.

Red Beans and Rice:
1 part red beans (canned)
1 part brown rice or other grain (cooked with half water and half veggie broth)
season to taste with vegan butter, dried Italian seasoning and nutritional yeast. A splash of cider vinegar is a nice touch of acidity too.
I use plentiful amounts of nutritional yeast, by the way.

Having some leftover Shells & Cheez for this plate made it a super quick 20-minute meal...

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