Tag Archives: vegetarian

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! 😉

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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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!

Vegan Manicotti

With my plate pretty full from working during the week & getting used to my daughters school routine, I’m on the hunt for some fast & easy dinners… So are you, right?!  Most days I work until 5:30-6pm, so I love a good homemade meal that I know the kids will eat AND that I can whip up fairly quickly. Kids or no kids, one can never have enough recipes like that in their possession!

In my experience, most kids – and some adults – are finicky eaters (one time they love something and the next time they wont touch it!) so I get really excited when I make something that my kids really love EVERY time. It is so comforting to know when they are going to bed with a nice full belly! Here’s a few links to some of our favorite family meals that are fairly quick to make: fettucini no-fredo, biscuits and gravy, soysage casserole (prepared ahead), homemade vegan mac, pancakes/waffles (sorry no direct link, theres too many to choose from!), pot pie, homemade pizza… &  spaghetti with meatballs!

My family loves this tofu ricotta! I love it for a few reasons – it is fast, it is versatile (it makes several meals – lasagna, manicotti, ziti), the dishes can be made ahead or frozen, & its  healthy- the ricotta is full of protein (tofu) & vitamin B-12 (nutritional yeast), two things that are especially great for vegans. In fact, I think this ricotta just so good that I keep putting off trying vegan ricotta using cashews, a recipe I’ve been meaning to try FOREVER! I’ll get around to it soon, it’s just that Vegan Gourmet Soy cheese is very accessible to me and I personally think its delicious. I have never tried to make this ricotta recipe with Diaya, but I’m sure it would be yummy too. Let me know if you try that!

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Vegan Manicotti

Manicotti is super easy and simple. The hard part is stuffing the noodles without splitting them! (Be sure to cook up lots of noodles cause they split fairly easily.) I think the best, fastest & most attractive way to achieve this is to use a pastry frosting piping bag or making your own by cutting the tip off the corner of a large freezer-ziplock bag. You can also just stuff jumbo shells if you prefer… They are easier to fill, but I find them messier overall. (TIP: Another quick meal to make with this ricotta is making baked ziti – cook & drain ziti noodles and just stir it all together (ziti noodles, ricotta, and sauce), shred some more cheese on top and bake it up!)

You will need :

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • 1 jar of sauce
  • 1 batch of Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 box of Manicotti Noodles (Ferrara is what I usually use)

1) Make this tofu ricotta in a food processor. Blend all ingredients but pulse the basil in last, if you are using fresh basil.

  • 1 block tofu (I like to use extra firm)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan gourmet mozzarella, packed
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil – pulse in last! (2 tsp – 3 tsp if using dry basil)

2) Cook noodles according to box. (Mine cooked about 8-9 min.) Take the noodles out of the boiling water when they are done and lay them on paper towels to wait until they are cool enough to handle.

3) Spread a little sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 12 baking dish. Now fill the noodles carefully with the tofu ricotta by spoon or piping bag (I recommend the piping/ziplock bag method).

4) Arrange the stuffed noodles side by side in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake 25 minutes at 350 F. That’s all there is to it!

Serve with fresh garlic toast or bread. Mmmmmm! So easy and satisfying!

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The proof is on the plate… or in this case, an almost empty plate!!

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Arlo in action! Chomp! Chomp!

I cant even tell you how happy I am now that I found my camera!  Blogging recipes isn’t as much fun when you can’t share the visual of the finished product! More to come very soon! 🙂

Sesame Sweet Marinated Tofu

(First  A Quick Note from Your Vegan Neighbor:  Hi everyone! Please forgive me for being away so long – unfortunately during the move I misplaced my camera! I know its around here somewhere & I am one box away from coming across it & I will fill this post with pictures asap! I’m glad t0 be back! As always, feel free to send me suggestions for future posts or Dinner & a Movie ideas!)

I wish I could’ve shared this gem earlier in the summer! I was gonna call this recipe “sweet sesame marinated tofu”, but my kids love this recipe so much, we decided that flipping the words to sesame-sweet made a better name – because now they tend to call it “sesame stweet tofu” 🙂

My daughter just started kindergarden… I really can’t believe it. The time I part-dreaded/part looked-forward-to has finally arrived! Sending off my girl into the big world… It’s a big step for her and a dose of reality for me. My baby is growing up and a new chapter in her life – and mine – is beginning. I’m getting the hang of waking up at 6 am and making her lunch, getting her dressed, fed, ready… Some mornings I feel like I am in school too!!

I struggled with the idea of homeschooling, which I find wonderful for many reasons, though I think my daughter is one who will thrive in the social environment of which modern day public school is… Plus she’ll have access to some things that aren’t as accessible to me daily (computer lab, science equiptment, my undivided attention for 8 hours).  Now that I’m working outside the home anyway, I’m not home as regularly to teach her as public school can!

(By the way, making a packed lunch that is healthy & exciting to eat is an art that I am trying to master! I’m intrigued by these bento boxed lunches, but haven’t ventured there yet. When I do, you’ll be the first to know! Right now, I’m just packing her favorites and keeping it healthy!)

I wanted to make this recipe because my daughter LOVES snacking on these straight from the fridge. They are an excellent quick go-to healthy snack for anytime, such as right after school or while dinner is cooking! They are also an excellent topping for salads… a great way to incorporate a little extra protein (and hey, maybe get your kid to try a salad)!  I strongly recommend using the firmest tofu you can find. I like to use bulk tofu, which is usually super firm!

Sesame Sweet Marinated Tofu

makes 16 squares

  • 1 block extra firm tofu
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil (add last * see directions)

Turn the tofu on its side and slice the tofu in three slices lengthwise. (I cut down the middle first then cut each side in half carefully). Then lay the tofu flat and cut vertically and horizontally, turning it into 16 squares.

1) Using a large nonstick pan, lay out all 16 squares of tofu.

2) Add all of the other ingredients (except the sesame oil) right on top, drizzling the brown rice syrup and sprinking the ginger over the squares, then cook on med-high heat, jiggling your pan occasionally. Once you see the liquids cooking down some, flip your squares over carefully, then continue cooking until most liquid is gone.

3) Lower heat to low-medium and drizzle the 1 Tbsp sesame oil over the top. Cook until only slightly wet. Let cool on pan for several minutes after cooking, then refrigerate until ready to use. Store with any extra “sauce” and refrigerate.  Eat right from the fridge or on top of a salad! Before serving on salad, cut each square diagonally (making two triangles).

This tofu accompanies this Nori Sesame Dressing like a dream come true! Keep refrigerated & eat frequently!

Don’t you… Forget About Me!

Man… living in todays modern world with no internet connection is ROUGH… I havent had an internet connection since mid-March… Long story… I will say that I just moved and I havent had the chance to get my internet hooked up yet, but I hope to have it and my blog up and running again by next week. (Im at work on a break right now!) Im bummed that I have really missed some good holidays and opportunities to share recipes. Obladi, oblada, life goes on! Man, I miss you guys & I hope you have missed me. So, here’s to next week! I’ll bring the food! 😉