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Monday, September 2, 2019

Peanut Butter Bars That Taste Like a Reese's Cup

Before I was vegan, I loved a Reese's cup. It was my favorite of all the candy bars. There should be no other. ha ha The holiday one's were my favorite too. You know the one's, they were shaped like a tree or pumpkin. Not sure why I liked them so much but I think it was because there was more peanut butter in them. 

I have not had a Reese's cup in a really long time and when I came across this Instagram post by Nora Cooks, I knew I had to immediately try them. OMG they are so good. Definitely keep them in the fridge. They are much better cold in my opinion and they really do taste just like a Reese's cup. 

I've been wanting to make a copycat version of a vegan Reese's cup for a super long time but honestly, I did not want to mess with the little cup things. You know, melting the chocolate, pouring it into all those little molds. Letting it set up, doing the peanut butter part, letting it set up again, melting the chocolate again and so on. 

Which is another reason why I love this recipe so much. It's quick and easy. Yes, you still have to the let peanut butter and chocolate set up but it's one big bar and not a lot of little cups.  Don't get me wrong, I love the cups but I just do not have time for them.

For the butter, I used my D.I.Y. butter and it worked perfectly but you can use any type of vegan butter you like. 

I used vegan graham cracker for the crumbs but Nora used Chocolatey Chip Teddy Grahams. Either one being used should definitely be processed in a food processor to get them as fine as a crumb possible. I did not do this the first time and the bars are way better with a finer crumb.

Let's get to this fantastic recipe. Here is what you will need. 
The bar layer:
1 cup of natural peanut butter
1 cup of butter
2 cups of powdered sugar
1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

The topping:
12 ounces of chocolate chips
1/4 cup natural peanut butter

Line a 9X13 inch pan with parchment paper leaving the sides long enough to overhang making it easier to grab. 

In  medium sauce pan, melt the butter and peanut butter. Stir in the powdered sugar and graham cracker crumbs. I did this over the heat and it made it easier to stir. Once everything is combined, pour into the 9x13 inch pan. Spread out evenly and let it set up in the fridge for about an hour. 

Once the peanut butter layer is set up, it's time to add the chocolate layer. Melt the chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of peanut butter. I melted the chocolate and peanut butter by constantly stirring them over medium heat in a medium pan. Do not walk away from it. You really need to stir constantly. It will only take a minute or two to melt everything. Pour evenly over the bar layer. Let it set up in the fridge for another hour or so. 

If you put your bars in the freezer to set up, let them rest on the counter for about 10 - 15 minutes. The chocolate layer will crack if you try to cut them too soon. 

This will make a lot of little bars but they are so worth it. Keep them covered in the fridge or in the freezer. They will not last long, I promise.

Here is a link to Nora's original blog and recipe post.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Vegan DIY Butter // Palm Oil Free

Butter!! I love it!! Here is a palm oil free recipe by Miyoko Shinner that I have been using for a long time. In my expericence, it works just like other vegan butter you might find in the store.

Any palm oil you use, should be certified by the RSPO to help save the homes of the orangutans and other primates.

In the U.S., palm oil is found in about half of the products sold in grocery stores. It can be found in everything from candy to soap and the demand for it continues to grow.

Here is another link to an incredible blog about palm oil. PLEASE CHECK IT OUT. 

Here is another site with some really useful information.

I'm not perfect by any means but I do read my labels and try to avoid palm oil as much as I can. So when I came across this recipe, I had to try it. It's super easy and delicious. The best part, no palm oil. Yes, I said it again.

Let's get to the recipe. Here's is what you will need. 
1 1/2 cups refined coconut oil melted
1/2 cup soy milk
1/3 cup canola or a neutral oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp liquid soy lecithin 

Simply put all ingredients into a blender and blend just until everything is combined. The amount of time will depend on your blender. If you have something like a Vitamix, it will only take a few seconds on high.

Transfer to container with a lid and let it set up in the fridge. I use an old butter container. Use as you would with any vegan butter. Enjoy.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Vegan Chick'n Fajita Nachos

Who doesn't like nachos!!?? I don't think I've ever met anyone who does not like them. They are so fun and you can put anything on them. You can have them as meal or serve them at a party. Oh that's a great idea. Make your own nacho party.

The toppings are endless too. Beans, guacamole, tomato, lettuce, olives, onions, cheese (vegan of course), vegan chick'n, vegan veg crumbles that have been seasoned, salsa, sour cream and my current favorite, fajita chick'n. 

I can't take the credit for this idea though. This is another of Stevie's creations and I have to say it turned out phenomenally. Originally we wanted to use Morning Star Pulled Pork but couldn't find it anywhere. I tried it a couple months ago and really enjoyed it but now it seems to be missing from any shelves. So we ended up buying Morning Star Chick'n Strips. They are pretty good too. I'd buy them again for sure. 

I've used this seasoning blend for veggie fajitas and it turn out really good so we are using it again.

Let's get to the recipe. Here's what you'll need. 
Fajita Seasoning
3 tbsp cold pressed safflower oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano (Mexican is best)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp no chicken bouillon

1 pkg of Morning Star Chick'n Strips thawed
tortilla chips
vegan cheese - Violife is really good
vegan sour cream

In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the fajita seasoning and whisk to combine. 

You can leave the chick'n in strips but I like to cut them up into little pieces that are easier to manage with your nachos. Once the are all cut, add them to the fajita seasoning and stir combine. 

Toss them into a preheated fry pan and cook for a minutes or until they start to caramelize. 

While your chick'n is cooking, you can get your other nacho ingredients ready. 

On a large plate, spread some tortilla chips evenly. Once the fajita chick'n is done cooking, add some or all to the top of your tortilla chips, sprinkle with some vegan cheese. Top with your other choice toppings. Guacamole and sour cream is really good. 


Friday, August 9, 2019

Baked Banana Oatmeal

After I made the peanut butter baked oatmeal, I wanted to try banana baked oatmeal. I was pretty sure it was going to be really similar to banana bread which is what I was wanting. 

Not to toot my own horn but I was right, for once. ha ha Stevie liked it and some coworkers liked it so much, they asked for the recipe. Of course I was happy to share.

This banana baked oatmeal is super moist and like the peanut butter recipe, it's perfect for breakfast on the go or a healthier dessert. These will not last long either so you might want to make another batch. 

For the oats, I used a combination of 2 cups rolled and 1 cup quick though any combination will work.

Let's get to the recipe. 
2 or 3 large banana's (I used 3)
1 cup of sucanant or sweetener of choice
2 cups of plant milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups of oats
2 tbsp flax meal
6 tbsp water

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. 

Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining it with parchment of lightly oil it and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flax meal and water. This will be the flax egg. Set aside for a few minutes.

In a large bowl, mash the banana really well. Then whisk in the sucanant, salt, baking powder, vanilla, plant milk and flax egg. I mix it this way to make sure everything is mixed properly. 

Once everything is mixed and whisked well, add the oats and mix again. 

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for at lease 30 minutes. At this point start checking to see if it's done by inserting a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, the oat meal is done. If not, continue another few minutes. 

Let cool before enjoying. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Vegan Potato Salad

Mayonnaise or salad dressing? How do you like your potato salad? For me there is no question. Potato salad should always be made with mayonnaise. Always!!! Personally, I never liked salad dressing. It should not even exist. When I was not vegan, I would get so incredibly annoyed at restaurants when they would call salad dressing mayonnaise. It's not the same and should never be compared. 

Now that I am done venting, let's talk about potato salad. There are so many versions of this wonderful summertime salad. I mean nearly every family in America probably has their own recipe and my family is no exception. I was never a fan of my families salad either, even with mayo. 

Then about 20 years ago, I was at an event with friends and one of them brought potato salad. As always with a strange salad, I was hesitant to try it so I only helped myself to a little. I mean a little, just enough to sample it because I was sure I would not like it. I took that one little bite and man oh man was I surprised. I loved it. It didn't have that tangy aftertaste that I couldn't stand. I went right away and helped myself to more before it was all gone then begged my friend who made it for the recipe. She gladly shared it with me and I never looked back. My entire family loves it too. Even my daughter Stevie and she is one hard person to please.

When I made this salad, Stevie was positive she wouldn't like it either because I used black salt and vegan sour cream. Neither of which she likes. Yes, I said black salt. The non vegan potato salad that I used to enjoy, was made with hard boiled eggs. Since I do not eat eggs anymore, I simply replaced the eggs with black salt a.k.a. kala namak. 

Ok, let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 

3 pounds of red potatoes
1 cup vegan mayo
1 cup vegan sour cream
1 cup super finely diced celery
3/4 cup super finely diced onion
1/2 tsp black salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
optional regular salt to your liking

Boil the potatoes in a large pot until fork tender. Do not over cook. You want them to to keep their shape and not be mushy. Carefully remove from the heat and drain the hot water and replace with cold water to stop the potatoes from cooking. 

In a medium bowl, mix the remaining ingredients and give it a taste. You can adjust with regular salt and additional pepper to your liking. I mix it separately to ensure it's mixed and seasoned well.

When the potatoes are cool enough, peel and cut into cubes and put in a large bowl. Add the mayo mix and stir to combine. Enjoy!!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Baked Peanut Butter Oatmeal

Hey everyone!! Did you ever make a creation and just couldn't get enough of it? That happened to me with peanut butter and oatmeal. Last Winter I had it nearly everyday for breakfast. Hot of course. It's such a wonderful combination. I am drooling just thinking about it. 

Now that it's Summer time, I do not eat a lot of hot breakfasts. I've been that way for as long as I can remember and if you live in the Midwest, you will understand. When it's cold out, I prefer a hot breakfast and vice versa. 

Anyway, I am still thinking about that peanut butter and oatmeal breakfast so I decided to make some baked oatmeal with peanut butter. It's kind of like peanut butter oat bread and it is a nice healthy treat.

For this recipe, I use two types of oats. Rolled and quick. This combination worked out perfectly making this a kind of quick bread. I am sure you can use what type of oats you like but your recipe might have a different consistency.

In the video, I used 1/2 a cup of maple and 1/2 tsp of salt. Made it again with 1 cup of maple and 1 tsp salt and it was way better.

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
2 cups of plant milk
2 cups of rolled oats
1 cup of quick oats
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of maple syrup or sweetener of choice
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of pink salt
2 tbsp flax meal
6 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

Start by combining your flax meal and water. Give it a whisk and set aside. 

In a large bowl, combine everything except the oats including the flax meal. Give it a really good whisk making sure the peanut butter is mixed in and not lumpy. 

Now add the oats and stir to combine. 

Poor into a parchment lined 8 x 8 pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Carefully insert a toothpick in the center of the baked oatmeal and if it comes out clean, it's done. If not, continue baking checking every few minutes until it's done. 

Let it cool completely. 

An optional and highly recommended topping is a chocolate drizzle. 

In a medium bowl combine the following:
1/4 cup cacao
1/4 cup melted coconut oil 
1/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk it up and poor over the cooled baked oatmeal. Serve and enjoy.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Vegan Lasagna Skillet

While scrolling through IG the other day, I came across a photo that really intrigued me. It was for a recipe called Beefy Lasagna Skillet and it just looks wonderful. It's by Vegan Travel Eats. If you ever crave lasagna, this will cure you for sure. It's so incredibly quick and easy,which is always good if you do not have lot's of time to cook. Total time to make this skillet meal is less than 30 minutes.

Of course I had to change it around just a little only because I didn't want to buy any veg crumble when TVP is so much less expensive. And lasagna wouldn't be lasagna without ricotta, so I added a little of that too but it's completely optional.

Here is a link to Vegan Travel Eats recipe: Thank you so much to Valerie for sharing this wonderful recipe. It is going into my recipe favorites and I can't wait to make it again.

Here is the recipe again with the changes I made. 
The Italian TVP
1 cup TVP
1 cup hot water
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp pink salt
4 tbsp low sodium tamari
1 tbsp red wine vinegar

Add all of the ingredients to the hot water and stir to combine. Cover and let sit for about five minutes. The TVP will absorb all the liquids. 

Transfer the the Italian TVP to a large skillet with a lid and add the following. 
1 24 oz jar of marinara
1/2 cup plain unsweetened plant milk
1 cup of water
8 oz of  lasagna that has been broken into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 tbsp nutritional yeast

You will also need the following:
1 cup of shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp of ricotta
1 handful of chopped spinach

Stir to combine ensuring the lasagna is mostly covered. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Be sure to stir a few times while it's simmering to make sure nothing sticks. 

After 20 minutes, add the mozzarella and ricotta. Stir and cover again. Leave it on the heat for another five minutes. 

You can add the spinach when you add the vegan cheeses if you like. I do not like to wilty, so I add it at the very end. Stir, serve and enjoy.