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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Vegan Strawberry Valentine Cookies

So, I'm really not into Valentine's Day but I'll find any excuse to make cookies. I came up with these cookies about 20 years ago. I use to make all kinds of cut out cookies by using already made cookie dough from the store and canned strawberry frosting. They were really good too. 

Anyway, I have not made these in quite a while and decided to try them again. This time though, I wanted to make homemade dough and frosting. So I found a sugar cookie recipe from Nora Cooks. I must say these are really good too. Here is the link to her blog.  https://www.noracooks.com/vegan-sugar-cookies/  I made up my own instructions and the cookies turned out great.

For the icing, I used powdered sugar, freeze dried strawberries and a little almond milk. 

I used two heart shape cookie cutters. One that is 3 inches wide and the other is 1 3/4 inches wide. You do not need these exact sizes but I just wanted to give some sort of reference.



On to the recipe. Here is what you will need for the cookies. 
3/4 cup room temp vegan butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp almond milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. 

Mix in the milk, vanilla, cornstarch, salt and baking powder.

Gradually mix the flour in. The dough will get really thick. 

Divide the dough in half. It will be easier to work with. On a floured surface, roll the dough as thin as you can, 1/8 inch would be good but I found that was pretty hard with this dough. 

With the larger heart shaped cookie cutter, cut as many cookies as you can. Gently transfer the cookies to a parchment lined cookie tray and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Roll out some more dough and cut the same amount of cookies as you did the first time. Transfer to the cookie tray. Using the smaller cookie cutter, cut out the center of the hearts and bake 8 - 10 minutes. I got enough cut outs for eight sandwich cookies. That may differ for you depending on how thin you get the dough.

Roll out the remaining dough and cut a bunch of small hearts. I got about 30 little hearts.

For the icing you will need:
2 cups of sifted powdered sugar
2 cups freezed dried strawberries
6 tbsp of almond milk

You will need to turn the strawberries into a powder. I did this by throwing them into the Vitamix for about 30 seconds. 

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, powdered strawberries and milk. Whisk to combine. 

Once the cookies are cooled completely, gently spread or dip the flat side of a large heart. Top with one of the cookies that has the center cut out. 

For the little hearts, ice the top. 

Lay flat until the icing has set. Then store in an air tight container. Enjoy.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Vegan Huevos Rancheros

I have a confession to make. You know I love Mexican food. Well, I've never had huevos rancheros, of any kind, vegan or with real eggs. There, I said it. Ha ha I really can't say why I've never tried it. It just never really appealed to me I guess but I was glancing over this menu from a new Mexican restaurant by where I work and I came across something that sounded like it would be really tasty. It was Chilaquiles Desayuno. While researching what it was, I came across recipes for huevos rancheros. Finally it sounded like something I would like and it would be so easy to veganize. 

I'm not going into what Chilaquiles Desayuno is right now. Go ahead and Google it. It sounds really good though and might be something I try to make in the future.

Let's make the rancheros sauce. I looked up several recipes and took something from each of them and came up with my own which I am in love with by the way. It's so freaking good. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
Rancheros Sauce
1 tbsp cold pressed oil or some extra veg broth for sauteing
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1 jalapeno finely diced
2 cloves garlic minced
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup freshly diced tomato
1-8 ounce can tomato sauce
freshly chopped cilantro

In a medium size pan, over medium heat, saute the onion, peppers, garlic and spices in the oil or vegetable broth until the vegetables are tender. 

Add the vegetable broth, tomato sauce and tomato. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for about 25 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken up. 

While the rancheros sauce is simmering away, let's make some tofu scramble. Nothing to fancy though. The sauce will have plenty of flavor. 

The Tofu Scramble
1 package extra firm tofu that's been pressed
2 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp black ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp black salt

In a large saute pan, crumble to tofu and let heat up over medium heat. Add remaining ingredients and mix really well. Once the scramble is thoroughly heated, set aside. 

This is totally optional but you can also cook two corn tortillas until crispy. Chop into bite size pieces and set aside.

Once the rancheros sauce is done, ladle some into a bowl, add some of the tofu scramble, freshly chopped cilantro and crispy tortilla's and enjoy. OMG it's sooooooo good.



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Vegan Hot Artichoke Dip

I often get asked how do I come up with the vegan recipes I share. Most of them are old recipes that I used to enjoy and learned how to veganize. This dip is one of those recipes. It is so super easy too. 

Artichokes have many great benefits as well. They are most known for their antioxidants but they also have protein, fiber and prebiotics just to name a few. They also have folic acid, great for bone health, boosts your metabolism and is great for alkalizing your body. 

You can easily double or even triple this recipe for parties and get togethers. It can be served with chips, crackers or even other vegetables. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
18 ounces of artichoke hearts marinated in water diced
1/2 - 3/4 cup vegan mayo
1/2 cup shredded vegan parmesan
1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella
1 or 2 cloves fresh minced garlic


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Toss everything into a large bowl and stir well. 

The best pan to use would be an 8 x 8 inch square. I used a pan that was 6x6 and baked it about 10 minutes longer because it was more thick. Make sense?

I let it cool for about 30 minutes and it was still pretty warm. My favorite way to enjoy this dip is with tortilla chips but any cracker will do. Enjoy.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I always say if something has oats in it, it qualifies as a breakfast food. These cookies are no exception and veganizing them was so incredibly easy. I mean come on man, it's the holiday season. Cookies for breakfast is a given. ha ha 

Can't remember if I ever mentioned it before but I love making cookies. This is another old recipe of mine that I just had to vegan. It was quite easy too. Swap out the butter for vegan butter, replace the chocolate chips for vegan chocolate chips and use applesauce instead of eggs. Everything else stayed the same. 

Something I forgot to mention in the video. You can easily turn these from cookies to bars by spreading the cookie batter into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool completely and cut into small bars. 

Why don't we get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 1/4 cup room temperature vegan butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup all purpose unbleached flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 cups quick oats
12 ounce package of vegan chocolate chips



Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. 

Mix in the applesauce and vanilla. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually mix into the creamed sugar mix. Do not over mix. 

Mix in the oats and then the chocolate chips. 

Using a cookie scoop that measures a tablespoon full, scoop the cookie dough onto your parchment lined baking tray. They will spread so place them about two inches apart. Bake 8 - 10 minutes and let them cool for two or three minutes before removing them from the baking tray. Then, transfer them to a cooling rack and let them cool completely. 

Makes about 7 dozen wonderful cookies. 

Store in an air tight container with a piece of bread. Sounds weird but the bread will help keep the cookies fresh. Enjoy.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Vegan Filled Cookies

This recipe is another childhood favorite of mine. Actually, the apricot was always the best in my humble opinion. My second favorite is strawberry. Apricots are so underrated and never get used enough in baking. Anyway, the best thing about this recipe is you can use any flavor of preserve that you like. 

My favorite way to eat them was to start with the edge of the cookie where it's not filled. Eat the entire edge then devour the part that has the preserves. 

While making these cookies vegan, I noticed I needed a little more flour than my original recipe called for. Just a little. Add enough to make the dough not sticky. I guess it depends on your climate and how you measure your flour. When measuring flour, you should always spoon the flour into your measuring cup. If you scoop it directly from the container it's in, it will be packed meaning more flour. 

The original recipe called for shortening but I decided to just try vegan butter and it worked perfectly fine. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 

1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 1/4 cups flour, possible a little extra for non sticky dough
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp plant milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
preserves of your choice. 



Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. 

Add the apple sauce, vanilla and milk and mix to combine. 

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Whisk to combine then gradually add to the creamed sugar. Do not over mix. 

Measure 1/2 inch balls and place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Take a small piece of parchment and place over one of the little balls and gently press with the bottom of a glass or something flat. Press until the cookie is about 1/8 inch thin. If the dough is sticky, it needs more flour. Add a teaspoon at a time until the dough is easy to work with. They will be delicate so be gentle. 

Add about 1/2 tsp of your favorite preserves onto the center of the cookie. 

Make another little flattened disc shaped cookie and place over the cookie with the preserves and gently press the edges. 

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking tray for a few minutes. Transfer to a cooling wrack or parchment lined counter top. 

Let cool completely and enjoy.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Vegan Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

Before I was vegan, one of my all time favorite cookies around the holiday's was a peanut butter cookie. I have not had one in years and this year I really, really wanted one, or two. ha ha I mean I could almost taste one just thinking about it. You just do not know how much I love peanut butter cookies. 

Anyway, I am still working on veganizing the family recipe I grew up with but I just couldn't wait any longer. I need a peanut butter cookie. So, I went on a hunt for recipes and finally came up with my own. And would you believe they taste like Do Si Do's. Those peanut butter sandwich cookies from the Girl Scouts.  This was not my intention but I'm so glad it worked out. 

Shall we get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
The cookie:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup vegan butter at room temp
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt (I always use pink Himalayan)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup oats (either quick or rolled)

The filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vegan butter at room temp
1  to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted
1 to 2 tbsp plant milk

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream the brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter until nice and smooth with a stand or hand mixer. 

Add the applesauce, peanut butter and vanilla and mix until well combined.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. 

Gradually add the flour mix to the peanut butter mix. 

The oats. If you are using quick oats, you can add them to the cookie dough and stir to combine. If you are using rolled oats, you will want to blend them for just a second or two. You do not want oat flour. You still want some texture to your oats.  Combine with the cookie dough. 

Have a cookie tray prepared with unbleached parchment and set aside. 

I used a cookie scoop to scoop the dough. I then rolled into a small log and separated by half. Then place on the cookie tray about two inches apart. If you do not have a cookie scoop, use a tablespoon measure. Roll in a log and cut in half.

Place a small piece of parchment on the dough and gently flatten with the bottom of a glass or something similar. You can also flatten with your fingers but keep in mind, this will change the baking time as you will not get them as thin as using a glass.

Bake about 10 - 12 minutes until the edges are golden. 

Let the cookies cool on the cookie tray for a minute or two then transfer to cooling rack or lined parchment on the counter. 

Let's making the filling. This part is super easy.

In a small bowl, mix the other 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/4 cup vegan butter until well combined. Gradually add the powdered sugar. Add enough plant milk until nice and creamy. 

Very gently spread about a teaspoon worth of the filling onto one of the cookies. Top with another cookie. 

Makes about 24 sandwich cookies.

Store in an airtight container and enjoy within a week. They might last longer if stored in the fridge. I really can't say though. Mine certainly did not last that long. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2018

DIY Vegan Laundry Powder

The main reason I started making my own laundry detergent is because I wanted something to clean my clothes that was not full of toxic chemicals. I mean come on man. Who wants carcinogenic clothes??!! I know I don't and I do not want my daughter wearing them either. Most people do not even realize how gross store bought laundry detergent and fabric softener is. 

Yes, even fabric softener is full of toxic chemicals. I stopped using fabric softener about five years ago and now when I smell someone who's clothes have been drowned in it, it makes me gag and does not smell good to me anymore. I have found in my experience that you do not need a fabric softener anymore with this laundry detergent. The washing soda and salt take care of that. My clothes are never static-y and always soft.

Do I really need to mention the dangers of carcinogens? Carcinogens cause cancer!! Plain and simple. Why would you want them in your clothes. Or your kids clothes. 

Let's get to what we need to make laundry detergent/powder. The first thing we need is washing soda. Yes you can buy washing soda but finding a cruelty free brand can be really hard. So, we will make it. It's so easy too. Using a cruelty free brand of baking soda, spread and even layer onto a baking tray and bake at 400 degrees for at least an hour. Stir every 20 minutes. This causes the alkaline and ph numbers to go up making it perfect for laundry detergent. It can no longer be used for cooking so do not use it in your food.

Borax itself is cruelty free but from what I understand it is now owned by a company that is not cruelty free. I already had a box of Borax and will use it until it's gone and figure it out later. 

You will also need a laundry bar of soap. The most common bars are Zote and Fels-Naptha but they are not vegan. I learned that the hard way. Kirks Castille and Dr. Bronner's are. Personally I love the Dr. Bronner's rose scented bar. My local health food store had these on sale for like $2 so I got a bunch of them.

Here are the measurements. 
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda 
1 cup pure Epsom Salt
1 bar Dr. Bronner's Bar Soap grated

Tools needed. You will either need a grater or small blender dedicated to your soap. I found a small personal blender for $9.99 at Wal-Mart.

You will also need a container with a lid to store your detergent in along with a small scoop. Like one from medicine bottle.

Once your washing soda has cooled, mix everything together in a large bowl. Gently pour into your storage container. 

Use about 1 tablespoon per load of laundry. More if laundry is really smelly and dirty. 

This will last a while too so it's also a great money saver. You can easily adjust the measurements too. This is what I like. You can also double everything to make it last even longer.