Category Archives: Vegan

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Hey folks! It’s another Dinner and a Movie night! I don’t know about you, but this new year has been keeping me so busy! I’m definitely trying to make time for more blogging and especially for more ‘Dinner and a Movie’ nights! They are our favorites!

This week we watched Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of our all-time favorites) and made “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” (aka Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili). READ ALL ABOUT OUR FUN MOVIE NIGHT HERE!!

If I have learned anything from having two kiddos, it’s that ANYTIME (esp. Dinner and a Movie night) is a good time to dress up!! So… “don’t be afraid”  to pull out the costumes & the Jack-o-lanterns for this spooky movie night! 😉

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Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

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Wow… 2014! I can barely believe it is the start of another new year. I have quite the list of resolutions this year… one is being more consistent on my blog… I know, I know… I’m off to a bit of a late start there, huh?! But for the last couple days, I have been putting some recipes from my newest cookbooks to the test, so I have lots of new favorites to share already. So here goes!

This is hands down one of the best vegan soups I have ever had! Creamy, filling and absolutely delicious. Oh… and did I mention healthy? This soup mimics traditional broccoli & cheese soup yet holds its own by remaking the classic recipe with a fabulous vegan twist. The recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book ‘Isa Does It’.  We devoured the entire pot (except for one bowl, which I happily took to work for my lunch the next day) – & even my 3-year-old son was a fan! And the best part? It is completely and amazingly 100% healthy. No dairy, no soy, no faux cheeses of any kind… If you would’ve told me I would be eating “cheddary broccoli soup” that contained no cheese at all, I would’ve never believed it could be this good… and neither will you. Thank god Isa was born!

The secret of the creaminess lies within the cashew cream. This cashew cream is amazing stuff. I hope you aren’t allergic to cashews, because the cashew cream train is swiftly chugging along… and I’m hopping aboard! Sorry, I know I can sometimes be a little “cheesy” 😉 I didn’t have any cashews pre-soaked, so I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit for as long as possible, as recommended in the book – worked like a charm.

Oh – two more things – 1) You will need an immersion blender for this recipe, and 2) This AWESOME soup is not only dairy free, but gluten-free as well 🙂 Bring it on!

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Oooooh yeeeeeah. Serve with some homemade bread on the side for complete satisfaction.

Cheddary Broccoli Soup

Ingredients for the Soup:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli – stems and florets
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Ingredients for the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight (*or the quick boil method I mentioned above)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the Soup:

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onion in the oil with a pinch of salt – just until softened, about 3 min. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Add the broccoli, carrots, turmeric, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until the carrots are very tender.

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Can this soup REALLY be this easy?

Prepare the Cashew Cream:

In the meantime, make the cashew cream by draining the cashews and placing them in a blender/food processor with the broth, miso and nutritional yeast. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of your blender down with a rubber spatula every now and then. (Mine was full to the brim! Unless you have a giant food processor, don’t be alarmed if a little liquid leaks out. I just wrapped a towel around the base of my mixer bowl to catch any overflow.). And voila! Cashew Cream!

When the carrots are tender, add the cashew cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree so that only tiny bits of broccoli and carrot are visible. Keep the soup on low heat, partially covered for about 10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Once thickened, add the lemon juice and pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve. It thickens a bit more as it cools, so you’ll probably need to thin out the leftovers, if there are any!

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And there you have it, folks… heaven in a bowl.

On another note, I would like to say, only my latest posts are listed on the sidebar – Don’t forget to try my search bar if you are looking for something in particular! I’ve been writing this blog since 2011 so there’s some delicious history back up in there!

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

As long as I can remember, I have enjoyed creating food. Before I was old enough to be in the kitchen alone, I was outside letting my mud cookies “bake” on a wooden board out in the sun. When I realized that I could tie my passion for animals and baking together, my heart almost exploded.  I truly love it when someone is wowed by something i made, or surprised that vegan food “can actually be good”! (Geez, its mind-blowing and sad to me how disconnected some of us are from eating real homemade foods with no preservatives!) I love showing people that you don’t need to use dairy/eggs in baking. I love teaching others what I like to call “compassionate cooking”!

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Okay, I know… I really need better pictures of these – You’ll have to forgive me. I was in a rush – to eat them. I will take better pictures next time, which will be soon! Hey, I never claimed to be a photographer, I’m just your vegan neighbor who likes to make yummy food!

This recipe is more or less straight from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s book “Vegan Brunch”, which may be my favorite of her’s.  I actually own all her books except the pie one, which will be on my Xmas wish list! Chef Isa might slap me if she knew I used lemon juice from a jar instead of fresh lemon juice, but sometimes when you get a craving, you Tim Gunn it… and by that, i mean, you “MAKE IT WORK”. So, Isa’s original recipe contains fresh lemon juice and also 2 Tbsp lemon zest. Next time I’ll make Isa proud, but this time, it was still good enough to where my daughter said “Can i have another cupcake?” when it was gone! Now that’s a good muffin!

I actually had the pleasure (or should I say honor) of meeting Isa Chandra Moskowitz today! She came and had a reading from her new book ‘Isa Does It’ at our local bookstore Avid Books in Athens GA. (BTW, the book is filled with really simple amazing recipes I cant wait to try! Very pantry-friendly recipes & full color pictures! I highly recommend you go buy it!) This past weekend was VegFest in Atlanta, which unfortunately I was unable to attend, though I was happy to be able to be a part of Isa’s visit to Athens. She was very down to earth – and totally funny! Ahhh… just another reason to love her!! I also got to meet & briefly chat with another one of my favorite bloggers, “Vegan Dad”, who was in town for VegFest and was there for Isa’s appearance as well! 🙂

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Me & Isa – Too bad the guy in line behind me was a terrible photographer! It’s a little fuzzy and the light is terrible, but I’m just glad I got a picture! I didn’t want to take up anymore of her time asking for a re-do!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 5 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a muffin tin or line with paper cups.

2) In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt.

3) Mix liquids in a small bowl separately. Make a well in the center and add the liquids. Mix gently until dry ingredients are moistened and no pockets of flour remain. It will look a little lumpy.

4) Fill muffin tins evenly and bake 23-27 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean. When cool enough to handle, move out of the tin onto a cooling rack. Devour!

*Please note: I am working on taking better pictures of my food. I think day light is key to a good picture with my particular camera & I made these at night and I just couldn’t get a good shot. I know how important the pictures are to all you “foodies” out there, so just bear with me! 🙂

No-Rise Cinnamon Rolls

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There is not much like homemade cinnamon rolls. If you have the time, I strongly urge you to make the real deal yeast-risen kind… You can even prepare the dough at night and put it in the fridge to rise overnight, which bakes up beautiful & fresh in the morning… But… if you wake up on the weekend craving cinnamon rolls and you didn’t prepare the night before, well, dang. Sometimes you just have to figure something out!! Which is where these come in.

So, I was kinda wingin’ it with these and they turned out really good!  You can make them with any kind of milk… almond, soy or even coconut milk from a can… and  you can choose between soy margarine or coconut oil for your fat. I have done them both ways and I recommend using coconut milk (for moistness) and soy margarine (for the flakiest pull-apart sections)! The taste was good when using the coconut oil but it didn’t make the sections flaky like when I used the soy butter. The oil made them almost muffin-y, which isn’t the cinnamon roll I was looking for.

No Rise Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups flour (basically any kind will do! I strongly suggest using at least half unbleached white flour so they aren’t too “healthy tasting” – C’mon, you’re making cinnamon rolls! Splurge! I used 3 cups unbleached flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 6 Tbsp soy margarine
  • 1 cup almond OR soy milk OR unsweetened coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice (tip: Valencia’s are juicy!)
  • 2 tsp melted butter (for brushing on dough before sprinkling filling)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (for the filling)
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (for the filling)
  • frosting ingredients (see below)

1) Mix dry ingredients and cut in the margarine with a fork or with your fingers until well broken up. Pea sized bits are good. Little bits & pieces make for a yummy flaky dough!

2) In a separate bowl, mix your milk of choice, vanilla & oj.

3) Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour the liquids in.

4) Fold the dough gently with a rubber spatula until it is well combined. Try to mix as little as necessary to avoid having tough dough. The dough should be thick but soft. (If the dough seems a little too dry and isn’t coming together, add a teeny splash more of milk. If it’s too sticky, add a tiny sprinkle more of flour. Do this if only absolutely necessary.)

5) Gather the dough into a ball and roll it out into a large rectangle on a lightly floured surface. It really helps to roll it out on some lightly floured parchment if you have any. That way when you are rolling it into a tube, it doesn’t get stuck on the counter as easily. Roll it out to between 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.

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Roll out the dough into a thick large rectangle…

6) Brush the dough with the melted butter and sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar. Leave the very edge uncovered, so when you roll it up and pinch it together, it sticks easier.

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Spread the sugar evenly!

7) Roll up carefully & pinch the seam together. Cut the tube into slices (A serrated knife or criss-crossing dental floss to cut the rounds is an easy technique!) Cut them into nice thick rounds… 1  1/2″ wide is good! Im gonna make it a point to shoot for 10 from now on.

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Roll it up!

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Slice it up into thick 1  1/2″ rounds! These rounds aren’t thick enough! Next time I’m making 10 instead of 12.

8) Space out evenly in a rectangular baking pan or squeeze them into a 9″ round dish. Bake at 450 for 12-14 min OR at 375 for 30 min. Always check them at minimum cooking time.

You want to give them a little room to spread out… but the secret to really awesome moist sticky cinnamon rolls is having them close enough to spread/bake squished together…

(Tip: On my first attempt, I gave them too much room. I only put 7 in the pan. I guess I was thinking that way they could get really big, which they did, but the sides were too tough/overcooked from being separated – what I learned is that when they spread together and cook while touching, it makes them way more moist & smushy! So go ahead – jam them all in one pan together!

9) Let them cool for several minutes before frosting them with icing of choice. I suggest Frosting #2.

FROSTING / ICING

Frosting #1 / Glaze

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar + 2 Tbsp
  • 2 Tbsp soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Frosting #2 / Icing

So, I was making the glaze, but then I paused because I remembered… When I was a kid, we used to get those Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls that you busted open the tube and they were ready to go with the icing on the side – that thick icing that you had to spread over the fresh-baked rolls with a knife… And I thought, this glaze isn’t going to recreate my memory of those cinnamon rolls. It was just too thin. So I added a few things until it thickened up and tasted just right… So I made the glaze above and added:

  • >1/3  tub of 8 oz container cream cheese (I like Tofutti)
  • a splash of fresh squeezed oj
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a little orange zest (optional)

Blend or whip thoroughly until creamy. Chill until ready to serve. You can thank me later 😉

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These tasted great but there needed to be more rolls in the pan to keep the sides from being over-cooked. Ooooh! They are soooo goood! I strongly recommend making 10 rolls and squishing them all up in there for No-Rise Perfection!

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Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

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Wow! These muffins are amazing! I love making muffins because they are a great breakfast, snack and healthy addition to my daughters sack lunches.  I made this recipe gluten-free* and soy-free. I really love using coconut oil instead of canola when I can. In my experience, it makes for a moister bread. Also, the benefits of coconut are awesome!  Next time I think Im going to try to make them into jumbo muffins 🙂

* Spelt flour is a good substitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt, as it is not 100% wheat-free. If necessary, you can replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

I have a bit of an addiction of downloading free cookbooks onto my kindle… And it doesn’t have to be a vegan cookbook either – veganizing recipes is fun and usually pretty easy! Yes, you could say I’m  bit of a sucker for a bargain – a trait I definitely acquired from my Dad! It’s a blessing and a curse… I truly love scouring through thrift stores to seek out unique treasures to bring home! (My home is filled with such things!) And yet I am simultaneously trying to declutter! It doesn’t help matters much that I’m also a major recycler… I try to recycle everything. Like sometimes instead of throwing something out, I will try to repurpose it… this may explain the boxes and piles I have stashed away that I often pretend are invisible! Overall, I see my recycling efforts as positive. A lot of good things have come from my repurposing! 🙂

The base of this recipe came from one of the free kindle books I got called ‘Smart School Time Recipes’. The original recipe was from ‘Andrea at Bakerymanis.wordpress’, to give credit where it is due, though I did end up altering it quite a bit.

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I found these adorable Snoopy cupcake liners at Michaels Craft Store!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut and browned it in a skillet – watch carefully, it browns quickly!)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (this was about 1  1/2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk +  1 tsp cider vinegar (I used almond milk)
  • Topping: 1/3 coconut flakes + 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I subbed brown sugar  because I just happened to be out of turbinado! It turned out awesome!)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & toasted coconut) and set aside.

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Toasting the coconut is easy!

3) Peel the bananas and mash gently into measuring cup to make 1 cup. Blend in a food processor along with the oil, sugar, non-dairy milk + vinegar. Blend until smooth.

4) Add wet to dry and mix. (The great thing about baking with spelt is you don’t have to worry about over-mixing as you do with gluten-filled flours!) Fill muffin tins equally with batter and distribute topping evenly among the 12 muffins.

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Before baking…

5) Bake 23-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes… then DEVOUR!!!

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Yum! Yum!

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I love me some muffins!

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Vegan Chick’n & Waffles

Finally! Dinner & A Movie night is back! I hope you enjoy this Dinner and a Movie, featuring the ever so popular ‘Shrek’ quadrilogy! Feel free to watch ANY of the Shrek movies with this meal. We watched all four of them over a couple days and ended up eating this meal with the final movie  Shrek –  Forever After.

Read all about our movie night by clicking here! As always, feel free to comment and send me suggestions or ideas! Thanks! Hope you enjoy!

Crock-Pot Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

(This is a crock pot recipe, but it only cooks for 1 – 1  1/2 hours & is best if you can occasionally give it a stir.  It can even be started the night before and assembled before cooking. Start cooking this 1  1/2 hours before serving time.)

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Fall calls for the start of comfort foods. I can’t get enough thick soups and casseroles this time of year! I remember loving my mom’s chicken noodle casserole when I was a kid. Though this is not based on her actual recipe, it is kind of like my veganized version from my childhood memory. I have been trying more crock pot recipes out lately & intend to try more, especially the long-cooking ones… It’s amazing to come home from work and smell dinner cooking. Its like having your very own private chef! This would be an easy dish to take to a fall pot luck!

I was so pleased that my 3 & 5-year old kids liked this. In fact, I didn’t tell my daughter she was eating seitan (she thought it was “tofu chicken”, which she loves) until she was into her second serving and asking for more of the “tofu”. She was even giving me seriously exaggerated “MMM”‘s! every time she had a piece (she was loving it so much she was rolling her eyes with every bite!).  When I told her she was eating seitan -& loving it – her eyes practically popped out of her head! LOL… We have had numerous failed attempts at finding ways to get the kids to eat seitan, it’s just not one of their favorites. SO, I was stoked it was a hit! Hurray for another delicious & healthy recipe that they enjoy! 🙂  I hope you enjoy this as much as we did! This could easily be baked in the oven in a casserole dish though I until I try it myself, I cannot vouch for oven temp/cooking times as of yet.

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Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole B.B.C (Before Bread Crumbs)

Crock-Pot Vegan Chicken & Mushroom Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms ( I used 2 cans, which rang in at about 8 oz)
  • 1 Tbsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon (I used one square of Edward & Sons Not-Chicken Bouillon Cubes by dissolving it in a bit of the milk, heated)
  • 4 cups plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1 1/2 -2 cups seitan, plain or chicken-flavored, torn or chopped into small cubes. Use store-bought or homemade seitan. (I actually used plain seitan and it was great… One box was about 1.5 cups &I had about a 1/2 cup already in my fridge that I threw in to use it up.)
  • 8 oz dried pasta shells of choice (whole wheat or regular – I used some penne noodles but most anything would work.)
  • 3/4 cup peas (opt. – I just love peas, so I added some in there!)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme dried
  • salt and pepper to taste (the veg bouillon cube is so high in sodium I didn’t add any additional salt)
  • 2 Tbsp flour, if needed to thicken
  • Bread crumbs or topping of choice (think panko, crushed Ritz, crushed potato chips, French fried onions…)
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A few of my ingredients.. though you could also use fresh mushrooms and peas if you choose.

1) To make the cashew cream sauce, blend in a food processor until smooth & creamy:

  • 1/2 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp lemon juice

2) Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent, about 3-5 min. Add the garlic and mushrooms and sauté until the mushrooms reduce in size and are tender, 5-10 min. (If you use canned mushrooms, just cook 5-10 min as well to blend flavors.)

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At this point you can refrigerate both the sauce and the veggies, separately, until the next day if you are preparing this ahead.

3) Oil the crock of your slow cooker and combine the sautéed veggies, cashew cream sauce, disintegrated bouillon cube, milk, seitan, pasta, thyme & pepper in the slow cooker. Mix thoroughly and cook on high for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, or until the pasta is al dente. Give it a good stir about every 20 minutes or so.

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Ready to seal her up for an hour and a half to cook and thicken up!

4) If the pasta is ready but the sauce isn’t thick enough, stir in the flour. This should help thicken it up. (Note: I added in the flour to find that after I had taken the lid off the crock pot, it thickened up more on its own very quickly!) If desired, add your topping before serving. Devour!!

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D’oh! I forgot my bread crumbs!!! (I did add some a moment later once I was eating and realized they had been forgotten!! I put a little fresh basil on mine.)

This was truly delicious & easy. Will make again for sure. Id love to try baking it in the oven sometime with some French Fried Onions on top.  Let me know if you try that! And as always, suggestions and comments are appreciated!