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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Vegan BBQ Meatballs

When I made and tried my macaroni salad for the first time, I thought man bbq meatballs would go really great with this salad. I was so right too. I ate so many bbq meatballs I can't stand the thought of them now. ha ha You know how that goes!! Eat so much of something you get sick of it.

Not only are these super easy to make, they are great for serving at party's too.

Anyway, as always, these are super easy to make but you just need to be patient while they are cooking for an eternity. Just kidding but the longer they are in the slow cooker the better. I cooked mine for about six hours.

Let's get started. Here is what you will need. 
2 - 12 ounce bags of meatless meatballs
1 cup of chili sauce or bbq sauce
1/2 cup of grape jelly

Combine the chili sauce and grape jelly. Give it a taste and make sure it's to your liking. I like it somewhere in between not so sweet and not so tangy. It just depends on what you like.

Stir in the meatless meatballs. Toss into a slow cooker on low and leave it be. After a few hours, give it a taste again see how you like the sauce. You can adjust now by adding more or less of chili sauce or grape jelly. 

Please enjoy!!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Vegan Mint Milano's

This has to be the best cookie creation I have had in a long time. Well, with the help of my friend Rachelle. It was really her idea. When I took the lemon sandwich cookies to work for my friends to enjoy, she tried one and thought "Mint Milano". I thought about it for a second and said I really think I can make it happen. So I tried them and they turned out great. I really can't believe how well they came out. I really can't.

This recipe will be new on my list of holiday cookies to make. They are that good. 

Let's get right to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
Oh yea, in order to use all of the minty chocolate ganache, you will need double of what I used in the video. So, I am giving ingredient amounts for double of what I used.

1 cup or 2 sticks softened vegan butter
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 vegan egg yolks (I used #BobsRedMill vegan egg replacer)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp vanilla extract
optional extra confectioner's sugar for sprinkling on cookies when they are hot out of the oven. 
10 ounce bag of vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup plant milk
2 tsp peppermint extract

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees or 190 celcius. 

In a large bowl, beat the butter, vegan egg yolk and confectioner's sugar until nice and fluffy. 

Beat in the vanilla. 

Gradually beat in the flour. Add a little at a time mixing thoroughly but be sure not to over mix.

Using a cookie scoop that measures a tablespoon, scoop some dough, roll into an oblong shape, split in half, roll into a ball and place on cookie or baking tray.

Cut a small piece of parchment (3x2 inches) and using a flat bottom glass, lay the parchment over the cookie and gently press the dough to about an 1/8 of an inch. This makes the cookies look smooth when baked looking really professional. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes just until the edges start to lightly brown. 

When they are finished baking, remove from the oven immediately and transfer to some wax paper. Sprinkle lightly with confectioner's sugar and let cool. The hot cookie will absorb the sugar.

In a double broiler, melt 10 ounces of vegan chocolate chips. I used Meijer brand #TrueGoodness semi sweet organic chocolate chips. Remove from the heat and add the peppermint extract and plant milk. Stir to combine thoroughly. 

Spread some of the minty ganache on the bottom of a cooled cookie and sandwich with another cookie. Taste and enjoy!!!! 

Makes about 4 dozen sandwich cookies.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Vegan Pecan Sandies

I have been making these cookies for about 20 years and they never fail to deliver in delectability. New word there. ha ha Anyway, when I turned these cookies vegan, you could never tell. They are melt in your mouth delicious and my coworkers loved them.

This is another cookie I only make once a year. I think I make these more for myself than anyone else.

The only thing I had to change was the butter. Honestly, I think they are better than ever. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. This recipe makes about 4 dozen and can easily be doubled for more cookie goodness. 
1 cup softened vegan butter
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. About 150 degrees celcius.

In a large bowl. Beat the butter for a minute or two. Then add the confectioner's sugar and beat until well combined. 

Beat in the vanilla and water and then mix in the flour a little at a time. 

Once everything is combined, pour in the pecans and stir or mix by hand. 

Place dough a tablespoonful at a time onto a parchment lined cookie tray. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to some wax paper and sprinkle some confectioner's sugar on them while they are still hot. That's it. Please enjoy. 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Vegan Chili Dip

If you like chili and cheese, you will love this dip. This is a dip that is served hot from the oven with tortilla chips or if you like, vegan dorito's. I would make a big batch of this because it always goes fast. 

#ChilliMan seasoning mix is my favorite chili mix but you can use whatever vegan chili you like. You can also use lentils instead of #TVP or Gardein crumbles. 

The amount of cream cheese and cheddar jack you need will depend on the size of the baking dish you use. 

I always say this recipe is easy but this has to really be one of the easiest. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1 cup of boiled water
1 packet of Chilli Man seasoning mix
1 cup of TVP
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
1 15 ox can kidney beans
vegan cream cheese
vegan cheddar jack 
tortilla chips for serving

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees or 170 celcius.

Let's make the chili first. As soon as your water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat. Add the Chili Man seasoning mix to the water and stir to combine. Add the TVP and stir again. Let the TVP absorb the water. 

Add the tomato sauce and beans. Give it a stir and that's it for the chili. 

Spread an even layer of vegan cream cheese in the bottom of your baking dish. Should be like 1/4 inch thick.

Add a layer of chili and top with the vegan cheddar jack. 

Bake until the cheddar has melted and is heated through. Should be no more than 30 minutes but that really depends on the size of the dish. 

Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Vegan Thin Mint Cookies

I never thought in a gazillion years I could have a thin min cookie again. Man was I wrong. I found this recipe by The Pretty Bee that is actually pretty good. I changed just a few things slightly for my liking but I really can't believe how well these came out. And another recipe was inspired by this but I can't tell you about that one yet. 

These are really quite easy to make too. Please do not get overwhelmed by the rolling out of the dough. I would definitely use flour when you roll out the dough instead of cacao. To much cacao makes them bitter and the flour just works better. 

The Pretty Bee's recipe is gluten free but I used regular flour. I also rolled them out to 1/8" thick and baked them for at least 10 minutes. You want them to get crispy and crunchy. I would also use 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup sugar to ensure there is no bitterness from the cacao.

Here is what I used.
The cookie:
1 vegan buttery stick softened or 1/2 cup
1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup organic cane sugar
1/8 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cacao powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp peppermint extract - Be sure to use peppermint extract and not mint. Mint extract is more like a spearmint gum flavor.

The coating:
1 10 ounce bag of vegan chocolate chips
1/2 tsp peppermint extract

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed of an electric hand mixer. Add the extracts and applesauce and mix well. 

Add the salt and cacao and mix well again. Add the flour a little at a time and mix well each time.

Divide the dough into two even parts. Wrap in some cling wrap and shape into a disc. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or 175 Celsius.

Take out one piece of dough from the fridge. Gently sprinkle some flour on a rolling area and on the top of the dough. Roll the dough out to 1/8" thick. I used a cookie cutter that was about 2" wide and cut out several cookies. 

Place the cut out cookies on to a parchment lined tray and bake about about 10 minutes. If you use a different size cookie cutter, the times might vary. 

Let the cookies cool for about five or ten minutes on the tray then remove to some wax or parchment paper to let cool completely.

When you have completed the first piece of dough, continue with the second piece. 

Once the cookies have completely cooled, it's time to coat them in chocolate. 

Melt your chocolate in a microwave or a double broiler which is what I used by putting about an inch of water into a sauce pan and bring the water to a simmer. Set a large glass bowl over the pan and add the chocolate chips. This will only take a few minutes to melt the chocolate. Add the peppermint extract and stir to make sure it's all smooth. 

Leave the bowl of melted chocolate over the water. This will ensure it stays melted while you are coating the cookies. Once you have coated a cookie, place it on the wax paper to set. This will take a while. Once you can remove a cookie cleanly from the wax paper, you can put them in the fridge to completely set. 

Here is The Pretty Bee's original recipe:

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Vegan Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Here is another old recipe of mine that was easy to veganize. Incredibly easy and another one of my favorites. 

This recipe originated from almond crescent cookies many years ago. You know that one that is coated in confectioner's sugar and shaped like a crescent moon. While making the crescent cookies one year, I thought to myself, I wonder if this would work with lemon extract. I tried it and was pleasantly surprised. I then thought it needed more lemon and wondered what I could do to make it even better. And the lemon sandwich cookie was born. 

This recipe is really easy but the hardest part is the baking time. They do not take long and if they are over baked, they really are not as good. These cookies are meant to be soft and melt in your mouth. Over baking causes them to be more crispy. 

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

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 190 Celsius. 
1 cup of butter softened at room temperature
1 cup confectioner's sugar
2 vegan egg yolks (I used Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer)
4 tsp lemon extract (You can add two tsp if you do not want it so lemony)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
extra confectioner's for sprinkling on cookies after they have been removed from the oven. 

In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar, lemon extract and egg replacer yolks until nice and creamy. 

Gradually beat in flour. Dough might look crumbly but just keep beating it until it comes together.

If you have a cookie scoop, scoop the dough making sure it's level. Release the dough, roll into a oblong shape and cut in half. Roll into a ball and place on a parchment lined cookie or baking tray. Place only 12 dough balls evenly spaced. Gently press into a disc shape. Not too much. Should be a little less then a 1/4 high.  

If you do not have a cookie scoop, measure about a tablespoon full, roll into and oblong shape, cut in half and roll into a ball. Place on the cookie sheet and gently press. 

Bake 8 - 10 minutes. My oven took 10 minutes and the cookies were perfect. Do not let them brown. 

Immediately remove from the cookie sheet and place onto a wax or parchment paper and sprinkle with confectioner's sugar. The hot cookies will absorb the sugar. I usually sprinkle until the cookie stops absorbing the sugar. 

Let cool. 

So, in the video I made a double batch of buttercream. You really only need half of that. Below is the recipe for a half batch.

Buttercream filling
1 vegan buttery stick or 1/2 cup softened
1 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tsp lemon extract

In a large bowl, beat the buttery stick for about five minutes. It will become lighter in color and double in size. Mix in the lemon extract and gradually add the confectioners sugar. If the buttercream does not seem thick enough, you can add a little more sugar. 

Transfer the buttercream to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe half of the cookies with the buttercream. Make sure you get buttercream on all of the cookies then top with another cookie. Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Chip Treasure Cookies

Way before I was vegan, I used to bake tons of cookies to give away as gifts around the holidays. I planned my entire December around what I called "The cookie weekend". Before the cookie weekend, I made lists of what I was going to make, made the grocery lists and bought exactly what I needed. Then the weekend was here. I baked one day at home. The second day I baked with my friend Bernadette. It truly was madness. From sun up to sun down, bake, bake, bake. The third day was spent packing for everyone who was to receive the cookies and there was a lot of people. I even bought cute little containers to pack everything in. At work alone there was at least 15 people I gave cookies too. I also mailed cookies to family too. 

It has been a long time since I baked like this. Maybe about 17 years. 

Anyway, this was one of my favorite recipes and it was really easy to vegan. 

Finally, let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp  baking powder
1 14 oz can of vegan sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup vegan butter
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
10 oz bag of vegan chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 190 degrees Celsius.

Combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour and baking powder in a small bowl.

In another bowl, mix the sweetened condensed milk and butter until smooth and creamy. 

Add the graham cracker crumb flour mix and stir to combine. 

Add the walnuts, coconut and chocolate chips. Stir to incorporate. 

Scoop tablespoonfuls of the cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for about 8 minutes or edges are golden brown. 

Remove from oven and let sit on the sheet for about a minute. Then transfer to a cooling rack or line the counter with some wax paper and place them there to let them finish cooling. 

Store loosely in a container. If cookies get to hard, place a piece of bread in the container and wait a few hours. They will be fresh again. 

Please enjoy!!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Creamy Black Bean Soup//Oil Free

I think I've mentioned before that before I was vegan, I really wasn't into soups that much. But, since I am now vegan and cooking more, I've really come to love soup. They can be a meal all on their own depending on how hearty you make them. They are so incredibly easy too and they do not take long. This soup took about 30 minutes to make. That includes the chopping of the vegetables. 

I've been wanting to make this soup for a long time. It really is a cold weather soup and well, it's cold out. Here in the Chicago land area anyway. It warms your entire body when you eat it.

After I made the video, my daughter said put some lime in it. So I did and it was even better. Then I thought, I bet a quesadilla would go great with this. And I was right. So be sure to make a quesadilla to go with your soup.

Ok, let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 onion diced
2 stalks of celery diced
1 carrot diced. if they are small, use two
2-3 cloves of garlic minced
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp black pepper 
4 - 15 oz cans of black beans rinsed and drained
1 can of Rotel tomatoes and green chili's
32 oz of vegetable broth

Put half of the beans and the can of tomatoes in a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Set aside. 

In a large soup pot, saute the onion, celery and carrot until tender. Add the garlic and spices and stir to combine. Pour in the veg broth, beans and bring to a small boil. Add the bean and tomato from the blender and stir again. Give it a taste and season to your liking. Serve and enjoy.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Pumpkin Spice Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpea's have become one of my favorite snacks. They are an excellent treat to take to work. Perfect for the kiddies snack at school too. The best part about roasted chickpea's is you can make any flavor you like. You can make sweet or savory. They are both equally delicious.

You can easily double this batch too. Maybe even triple it. You will save a lot of money making your own roasted chickpeas.

A few reasons chickpeas are good for you:
Great source of protein, aids in controlling blood sugar levels, high in fiber, loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and protects the heart.

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need.
1 can of chickpeas rinsed and drained
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 - 3 tbsp maple syrup
splash of vanilla

Preheat your oven to 400 degree's Fahrenheit or 200 degree's Celsius.

Spread the chickpea's in a single layer on some paper towel or kitchen towel. Gently pat them dry. 

In a small bowl, mix the pumpkin, spices, syrup and vanilla. 

Pour the chickpea's in and stir making sure the chickpeas are all coated. 

Pour onto a baking sheet preferably lined with foil in a single layer and spread out. 

You are going to bake them for about 35 to 45 minutes stirring every ten minutes. 

After they cool completely, they will be nice and crunchy and delicious. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkin Date Rolls

Here is a fantastic twist on date rolls. Add some pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice and OMG. I think I am going to overdose on dates. ha ha Is that possible? I can't seem to get enough pumpkin this year. Not sure why but who cares. This is one of the best fall treat almost ever. 

These would be a perfect little treat for a school lunch or at work lunch. Excellent idea for a party too. 

If you do not have a blender like a Vitamix, a food processor will work just as well. If you do use a Vitamix, it would probably be best to let the date dough sit in the fridge to chill a bit. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
30 Mariani pitted dates or about 15 Medjool pitted dates
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup of almond meal
1 tbsp water
Chopped pecans for rolling. You can also use some very finely shredded coconut or even some almond meal. They are all delicious. I bet even graham cracker crumbs would be great too.

Toss everything into your blender or processor except for the pecans, coconut and additional almond meal. Or, whatever you decide to roll the balls in. Blend until nice and smooth. 

Transfer to a bowl and let it chill out in the fridge for about 30 minutes. 

If you have a cookie scoop, now is the perfect time to use it. Scoop of the date mix and plop it in to one of preferred coverings. Roll it around in the pecans and you are done. The perfect fall treat. And the cookie scoop makes the perfect size. 

If you do not have a cookie scoop, roll about a tablespoon of the date mix into a ball then toss around in the pecans. Enjoy.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Quinoa Pizza Bowl

Quinoa is so versatile. You can add it to almost anything just to make that dish more protein packed and better for you. This recipe is no exception. And if you are craving a veggie supreme pizza, this bowl will knock out that craving. You can add lots of other ingredients too. Olives, mozzarella, tvp sausage, vegan pepperoni. Whatever you like on your pizza will work in this bowl. 

Did you know quinoa is a complete protein? This means it has all nine essential amino acids that your body needs. It is also a good source of iron, fiber and B6.

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 cup of cooked quinoa
3 or 4 mushrooms diced
1 medium onion diced
4 mini sweet peppers or 1/2 of a large bell pepper
1 tbsp oregano
pizza sauce
some water or vegetable broth for sauteing

To cook your quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Add it to a pan along with 3 cups of water. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. You will have about 3 cups of cooked quinoa.

Saute the mushrooms, onions and peppers until tender in some vegetable broth or water. Sauteing this way saves on calories as apposed to using an oil. 

Mix the quinoa, sauteed vegetables and oregano together. Add little pizza sauce. You do not need a lot. Just add a little and to your liking. Enjoy!!

How to cook quinoa.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Vegan No Chicken Scallopini Piccata

So my birthday was yesterday and this was my dinner. One of my favorite Italian dishes. I did not have caper's on hand but if you make this and want to add them, by all means do so. 

My favorite pasta for this dish is angel hair but feel free to use your favorite pasta.

If you gave this to a carnivore, I swear they would not know it was vegan. My daughter said the same thing. 

I will do my best to give measurements but I always eyeball everything. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1 pkg Gardein Scallopini thawed
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 - 4 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon 
2 cups vegetable broth
capers which are optional
pasta of choice

In a small bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper. Coat the scallopini in the flour mix. 

Over medium heat, heat the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, gently add the scallopini and fry until golden, about 3 - 4 minutes each side. Remove from the pan. 

Add another two tablespoons of the flour mix into the oil and stir until thick and browned. Should take about two minutes. 

Very slowly add the vegetable broth about 1/4 cup at a time and stir until it looks like a sauce or gravy. Repeat this step until all of the broth has been added. 

Add the lemon juice and stir. Give it a taste to make sure it is seasoned properly. Add the caper's at this time if you wish.

Add the scallopini to the sauce and just let it sit there while you make your pasta.

When your pasta is finished cooking and drained, serve with the chick'n scallopini and lemon sauce and enjoy. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Biscuits & Gravy // Vegan & Fat Free

Next to Mexican food, breakfast is my next favorite type of food. Breakfast for lunch, breakfast for dinner and breakfast for breakfast, I love it all. And as you know by know, cannellini beans are a great alternative to nuts and and more specifically, cashews.

My daughter even loves this gravy and she is always hard to please.

The biscuit recipe is from Happy Herbivore. They are low fat and super easy to make. I will link the video down below. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need for the gravy.
1 can cannellini beans rinsed and drained
2 cups of water
3 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp onion powder
1 1/2 tbsp Bragg's Liquid Amino's
2 tsp no beef bouillon
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Put everything in a blender and blend. Pour into a fry pan or sauce pan and stir until your gravy gets thickened.  Ladle over your biscuits and serve. Enjoy.

Biscuit video recipe by Happy Herbivore:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Buffalo Chik'n Dip

I'm not a huge fan of spicy hot food but back before I was vegan, I had this dip that a friend made and I loved it. I couldn't believe how much I was enjoying it when I found out what was in it. And it was probably the first time ever that I had hot sauce of any kind. No lie. 

Anyway, I watched this video the other day by Pasta-based and I wanted that dip again. Isn't that weird to want something you haven't had in like five years. 

The original recipe calls for jackfruit and cashews. My daughter is allergic to jackfruit so I used #Quorn chik'n tenders and to try and lower the calories and get more fiber in, I used cannellini beans for the ranch dressing instead of cashews. It turned out exceptionally good. 

I will link the original recipe video down below. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1 can of cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1/2 cup plain plant milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp dried dill
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 1/2 cups Quorn chik'n tenders or one 10 oz pkg (comes in 1 inch pieces but I cut them even smaller)
2 celery stalks finely diced
1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
optional vegan mozzarella 

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
Into a food processor, put the beans, milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, spices and herbs. Process until everything is nicely combined.

Combine the chik'n, celery, hot sauce and the ranch dressing. Pour into a shallow baking dish and smooth it out. Sprinkle some mozzarella or even a cheddar style cheese on top. Bake for about 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10 - 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla or corn chips and enjoy!!!

Original Recipe by Pasta-based:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pumpkin Ooey Gooey Cake

I know I'm probably getting ahead of myself with pumpkin recipes but who can resist an ooey gooey pumpkin cake. I know it's pretty hard for me to just say no. Why would I anyway??!! ha ha

OK, so my intent was to make a pumpkin pound cake buuuuuut it did not turn out like that. This cake is ooey and gooey and delicious. I just thought of something. I think it would have been better if I baked them as bars. Maybe next time. Anyway, it smells so good and the batter is delicious. 

While it's in the oven, why don't I tell you what you need to make this deliciousness. 

Let's get started. 
2 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
8 ounces of silken tofu
1 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp vegan vanilla pudding mix
1 cup of vegan sugar
1/2 cup vegan margarine
1/2 to 3/4 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

You will need three bowls to combine the three different parts. 

In the first bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon and set aside. 

In another bowl beat together the tofu, pumpkin, vanilla and vanilla pudding mix and set aside. 

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with an electric mixer.

Add the tofu pumpkin mix and mix really well. 

Add half of the flour and half of the water and combine well. Then add the remaining flour and water combining really well.

Pour the batter into a lightly oiled loaf pan bake for 45 - 60 minutes. Start checking at 45 minutes by inserting a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, it's done. If not, keep baking until the tooth pick comes out clean.

Let it cool for about 15 or 20 minutes in the pan. Then remove it to a cooling rack or a plate large enough to hold the pound cake. 

After about an hour it should be good to go. Enjoy.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Tortilla Soup // Vegan // Oil Free

Now that autumn is fast approaching and the temperatures will be dropping, at least in my neck of the woods they will be, it's time to start the soups. I think I've mentioned this before but before I was a vegan, I liked soup but I never really craved it and absolutely never made it. But now I make it all of the time and savour every last spoonful. 

This Tortilla Soup is no exception either. The first time I made it I guess I was not really expecting to much. But man oh man the flavor in this soup is incredible.

It is super easy to make, nearly fat free and really inexpensive. If you cook your own pinto beans, it's even more inexpensive. 

Let's get to it shall we. Here is what you will need.
1 large can (29 oz) or 3 to 4 cups of pinto beans rinsed and drained
1 large can (28 oz) of diced tomato 
1 onion diced
1 jalapeno diced and seeded
1 red or green bell pepper diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp of no beef bouillon (optional)
4 cups of vegetable broth
Toppings: chopped cilantro, avocado, fresh squeeze of lime juice, tortilla chips

In a large soup pot, saute the onion in some water until translucent and browned over medium heat. Should take about 10 minutes. Add the no beef bouillon and stir around. 

Add the bell pepper, jalapeno and garlic and saute another 5 minutes to get the peppers tender. 

Add all of the seasonings and stir to combine. 

Add the tomato and beans and bring to a boil and it's done. Give it a taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. 

Serve and garnish with the cilantro, avocado and chips. It's so good. Enjoy. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Relief for my Mom

My mom lives in Houston, TX and she lost everything she owned including her home due to the damage Hurricane Harvey created. She has to start her life completely over and she will need everything from clothes to furniture to housewares and everything in between. 

My mom has a place to stay but it's only temporary. Her home will have to be torn down as well. 

I decided to start a GoFundMe campaign to help her out. Every donation helps. If I can get 1,000 people to donate at least $5.00, we would reach our goal. Of course if the goal is exceeded, that would just phenomenal.

Here is a link to the campaign.

This is what's left of my mom's home.

Thank you!!!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DIY Dollar Tree Halloween Wreath

While in a rather famous craft store, I came upon a Halloween wreath that was made of tulle, lights, a styrofoam wreath and a few halloween decorations. It was really cute until I saw the price tag. $60. I said no way and told my daughter I bet I could make this with Dollar Tree supplies. 

So, I went to the Dollar Tree and found almost everything I needed to make this wreath.

A couple items I already had is some craft wire, wire cutters and a piece of thin black string of any kind. 

Here is what you will need.
6 rolls of sparkle tulle
1 green styrofoam wreath
1 pack of LED lights
1 pack of AA batteries
Halloween decorations of your choosing. I used a spider and bats. This allowed me to make two wreaths
1 pack of plastic bands you will find in the hair section of the store
craft wire
wire cutters
1 foot of thin black string
hot glue gun

First step: cut the tulle into 12 inch pieces. You should get 9 pieces from each roll. 

Second step: take a piece of tulle and scrunch it together long ways. Wrap it around the wreath making sure the ends are even. Tie it off with a plastic band. Complete this step all the way around the wreath.

Third step: cut 2" pieces of wire and fold in half making a bobby pin style anchor.

Fourth step: add the lights from the back making sure the little light part is sticking out between the tulle. Pin the first light to anchor it. Then adjust the remaining lights but do not anchor until you have them evenly spread out. Once you have them where you like them, then you can pin them down. Once everthing is pinned or anchored down, hot glue the battery back down so that it is not flopping around every where. Make sure you glue the battery pack with the screw side up. This will allow you to change the batteries when needed.

Fifth step: tie the spider on where you like or glue it on if you found one different than the one I used. Add the bats too. 

I used an over the door hook for mine but if you like you can add a piece of ribbon to hang it. 

That's it. I hope you enjoyed this wreath. If you made one, be sure to tag me on instagram.

Happy Halloween!!!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Vegan Breakfast Enchilada's with Fat Free Gravy

I'm not sure who the star of this show should be. The gravy or the enchilada's. I really can't believe how well this gravy turned out. Super easy too. Who would have thought you could make gravy from beans.  

This was my second time ever making enchilada's of any kind. Can you believe it??!! ha ha They turned out really great too. Completely oil free and low in fat. 

There are a few different steps to making these but the turn out is so worth it and they really do not take long to prepare. I will leave links for the tofu scramble and TVP chorizo below the video. I would make the scramble and chorizo first. 

Oh yea, I added some crispy hash brown's too. These are optional but if you are going to add those too, I would have those ready as well.

Heat up your corn tortilla's too. This makes it easier for rolling.

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need for the gravy.
4 cups boiling water
1 15ounce can of cannellini beans rinsed and drained
3 tbsp cornstarch
2 tbsp onion powder
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/2 tbsp braggs liquid aminos
2 tsp no beef bouillon
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Toss everything into your blender and blend for about five minutes. Gravy should get thick. If it doesn't get thick like mine did, you can heat it up on the stove over a medium heat stirring constantly. Should thicken up pretty quickly. 

Give it a taste and make sure it's to your liking. Mine was perfect first time around. 

Once everything is prepared and depending how many enchilada's you are making, you will want to combine everything. If you are making four like I did, you will add to a bowl about 1 cup of tofu scramble, 1 cup of hash browns and about a 1/2 cup of gravy. 1/2 cup of chorizo too if you want it. Stir to combine. 

Put a thin layer of gravy in the bottom of your baking dish. 

How much of this mixture you use will depends on the size of your tortilla. I used six inch tortilla's and used about 1/2 cup of mix per enchilada. Roll kind of tightly and put the enchilada seam side down into your baking dish. 

When your dish is full, cover with some of the gravy. You can add some vegan cheese too if you desire. 

Cover and bake for about 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven. If you are making more than four enchilada's like I did, you will need to bake it longer to make sure everything is heated through. 

Remove from the oven and let cool for about 10 minutes then ENJOY!!! 

This gravy would be great over biscuits too. I promise it really is that good. 

Tofu scramble. This is for 7 ounces of tofu but you can easily double it if you want to make the entire 14 ounce package.

TVP Chorizo

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

TVP Chorizo

If you have been following me, you know I love Mexican food. I always have too. Two things I do not like though are mole sauce and until now chorizo. The last time I tried it was about 20 years ago. It was greasy, gristly and just gross.

Lately I've been wanting to give it another go. I bought the chile's two or three months ago and I've been waiting for what I don't know to try it. I think it was because I was sure I would not like it. I finally looked up a bunch of recipes and came up with my own. A lot of them called for tofu but I wanted to try TVP. 

So, let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1/3 cup of diced onion
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves
1/2 tsp salt
2 dried guajillo chile's (I seeded mine but you don't have to, it's totally up to you.)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup tvp
1 tsp no beef bouillon
1 cup water for the chile's
1/2 cup water for the tvp

Bring 1 cup water to a boil and remove from heat. Add the onion, oregano, cloves, salt, chile's and vinegar. Cover and let sit for about ten minutes. 

Bring 1/2 water to a boil and remove from heat. Add the tvp and no beef bouillon. Stir it up and let it sit. The tvp will absorb all of the liquid.

After ten minutes, put the chile's and spices and about 1/2 the liquid into a processor and process until a nice puree has formed. Make sure those cloves get processed. Poor the puree over the tvp and stir it up. 

Poor the tvp into a fry pan with the remaining liquid and over medium heat, let it cook until all of the liquid is absorbed.

Serve on corn tortilla's with avocado and tomato. Vegan cheese too if you like. Enjoy!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fat Free Nut Free Easy Vegan Cheese

Recently I heard of someone using beans instead of cashews for vegan cheese. I thought what a super idea. This would be great for my daughter too since she is allergic to nuts. It is also way less expensive.

I've tried the potato and carrot cheese too. Tasted like cardboard. I can't even tell the difference between the cashews and beans. Super delicious and my daughter approves. She is having some right now with tortilla chips.

This recipe is nearly the same as my #EasyVeganCheese too. The only two differences are the beans of course and use less red peppers. Oh and I added a clove of garlic too.

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
15 oz can of cannellini beans rinsed and drained
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup onion powder
1/2 cup of roasted red pepper
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup of super hot water 
1 tsp salt
1 clove of garlic
the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Put everything in a blender and blend for several minutes on high. If you have a vitamix, should only take 2 or 3 minutes. Enjoy with chips or on tacos, enchilada's, cauliflower, broccoli or whatever you like cheese on.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Cheesy Zucchini Squares

So, the other day my mom posted a recipe video on my FB wall that she thought I would like and try to make vegan. For two days, all I thought about was this video even though it was not vegan. I knew I could vegan it and it turned out so great, I made it twice in one day. I am totally digging this recipe.

This would be a great appetizer too. If I had them now, I would be eating them for breakfast. ha ha

So let's make it. Here is what you will need. 

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees
1 large zucchini shredded (about 2 cups)
1 egg replacer (used both Neat and Bob's Red Mill Egg replacer. Both work really great.)
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 tsp of dried oregano
1 cup vegan mozzarella
1/4 cup vegan parmesan
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
additional mozzarella and parsley for sprinkling on top

For the zucchini, you might have to squeeze out the extra liquid.

In a large bowl, combine the zucchini and egg replacer. Stir to combine and make sure the egg replacer gets distributed really well. Then add everything else combining really well. 

Dump the mix onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and spread out evenly forming a rectangle. Should be about 1/4 inch thick. 

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. The edges should be browned and looking crispy. Remove from the oven and sprinkle on fresh or dried parsley and some additional mozzarella. Bake about five more minutes or until the cheese is melty. 

With a pizza cutter, cut into squares and serve with your favorite marinara or pizza sauce. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Napa Cabbage Salad with Sugar Free Dressing

If you were to ask me ten years ago to eat raw napa cabbage, I probably would have been completely grossed out and said never, no way, not in a million years. Today I think to myself, what the hell was I thinking. Napa cabbage is freaking delicious. In the last month I bought and consumed four heads of it. There are only 13 calories per cup so you can eat all you want. 

I am currently seeking other ways to enjoy napa cabbage. When I come up with something, you will be the first to know. 

All of the recipes I found for this called for sugar. Since I am trying to avoid sugar, I had the bright idea of adding date puree instead and turned out great. They also called for a ton of oil. I just replaced it with water. I know, I'm a genious. ha ha

Let's get to the rest of the recipe. Here is what you'll need. 

The Dressing
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup date puree (process 10 pitted dates with 1/3 cup water. Just enough water to turn it into a puree).
2 tbsp tamari or braggs (I've used both and they both work)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp of water

Bring the vinegar, water, date puree, tamari or braggs and sesame oil to a boil. Turn off the heat and quickly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. It will get lumpy if you're not quick. Remove the dressing from the heat and let cool. 

The Crunchies
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
1 cup almond slices
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 to 1 1/2 cups of crumbled chinese noodles 
1 tbsp of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

Toss everything into a bowl and stir to combine making sure everything is coated well with the oil. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl.

The Salad
1 head of napa cabbage shredded
1 or 2 green onions sliced
dried cranberries which are optional
Some of the crunchies
Some of the dressing

In a large bowl, combine 1/2 of the shredded cabbage, 1/2 of the crunchies, 1/2 of the dressing and however much green onion you like. And some dried cranberries too. Toss to combine and enjoy.

Only prepare what you are going to eat. Do not make the entire batch and let it sit. It will get soggy and nasty. I usually make half and save the other half for the next meal.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Lemon Herb Potatoes

So my original intent for this sauce was to put it on zoodles but while I was making it, I thought to myself I bet this would be good on potatoes too. And it was. I never even got to the zoodles. ha ha 

I love a good lemon sauce too. BV, before vegan, I used to love chicken scallopini picata and it's only because of that lemon sauce but to make it you need to use flour and butter or oil. Both of which I am trying to avoid right now but I watched #maddielymburner make a dill sauce with hemp seeds and discovered that would be a great base for any sauce or dressing. That dill sauce by the way is delicious.

Enough chit chat, let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup nooch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp parsley flakes
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
the juice of a lemon
Adobo with saffron to your liking (I found mine at a hispanic grocery)
1/2 cup plain plant milk
1 or 2 diced steamed potatoes

Blend everything except the potatoes. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly. Coat the potatoes with the lemon sauce and enjoy. 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Damn Good Broccoli Soup

Before being vegan, I really was not a soup person. I mean, I liked soup but I never made it and rarely had any type of it.

Now I absolutely love soup and this one has got to be my all time favorite. Who knew potatoes, broccoli and nooch could make such a delicious soup. And some Adobo too. 

This was inspired by High Carb Hannah. Seasonings are a little different and preparation is a little different. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1 medium onion diced
1 minced clove of garlic
3 cups 1/2" diced golden potatoes
2 1/2 cups broccoli
4 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup nooch
1 tsp garlic powder
extra water for sauteing

Heat some of the extra water, about 1/2 cup, in a soup pot. Add the onion and give a generous sprinkle of Adobo. Cook until translucent. Should be about 10 - 15 minutes. 

Add the garlic, water, nooch and potatoes. Give it a good stir. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until potatoes are tender. 

Give it a taste and make sure the seasonings are to your liking and adjust accordingly. 

Add the broccoli and cook another 10 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. 

If you have an immersion blender, go ahead and blend the soup. 

If you do not have an immersion blender, very carefully transfer the hot soup to a blender and pulse a few times. Pour back into the soup pot for serving. Enjoy!!!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos by The Edgy Veg

The first time I tried this recipe I just could not believe how freaking delicious these tacos were. I thought my cravings for a really good vegan taco had finally been satisfied. I'm not even kidding you. I've made them three times already. 

The best part is they are really low in calories too. Canned green jackfruit in water is only 30 calories per cup. You probably use less than 1/2 a cup per taco. That's just madness. 

The original recipe is by Candice from The Edgy Veg. She also made a mango salsa which I did not make because I did not have any mangos and a lime crema sauce which is really good too.

The link to The Edgy Veg's video.

The link to The Edgy Veg's website.

The best place to get canned jackfruit is at an Asian grocery store. I bought mine for $1.69 a can. I think that's a pretty good deal.

Jackfruit and jackfruit seeds are so incredibly good for you it's more madness. Here's a list of benefits:
Cardiovascular, skin and bone health, helps with stomach ulcers and digestion, improves hair growth, helps maintain your thyroid and many more. 

I changed it just a little only because I didn't have some of the ingredients. 

Here is my version. 
1 can of green jackfruit in water that's been drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of water
1 tbsp of braggs liquid aminos
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp smoky paprika

Put everything in a shallow dish or bag from the water to the paprika. Swish it around. Add the jackfruit. Close the bag and get all of the air out. Let it sit for at least two hours. 

You also need:
1 small onion diced or sliced
1 tsp no chicken bouillon
Adobo seasoning
some water

Saute the onion in a little water. This saves on calories. Sprinkle a little adobo over the onions. When the onions are translucent, coat them with the bouillon. Add the jackfruit and marinade and let cook on medium heat for ten minutes. Cover and cook 10 more minutes. If they look a little charred, don't worry. They taste good that way. Shred them with a potato masher or however you like. 

Serve them on some corn tortillas and enjoy. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Vegan Breakfast Sausage // Savory Oats

About two years ago I came across a homesteader video that I thought was just crazy insane and would never work. I was searching for vegan breakfast sausage and I found videos on oatmeal sausage. Of course I was intrigued and watched with amazement as the homesteader turned rolled oats into sausage patties. 

Ever since then, I have been trying to perfect my own version. Yes it took me that long but I only tried every few months. It wasn't like I tried every week. ha ha

Several recipes call for frying the patties, then boiling the patties and frying again. I am way too impatient for that so I cooked the oats in the savory liquid until the oats were cooked. Let it cool then turned them into patties and baked them.

I have finally perfected my oatmeal sausage patties and gladly share them with you today. I hope you try them. It's a great savory dish for sure. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 cups water
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp braggs aminos
1 tbsp onion powder
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp sage
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp no chicken bouillon
1/2 tsp ground thyme
1/2 poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp turmeric
1 scoop of unflavored vegan protein powder (optional)
brown rice flour

Put everything in a large pot from the water to the protein powder. Whisk to make sure there are no lumps of any of the powders. Give it a taste and if needed, adjust to your liking. Bring to a boil and add the rolled oats. Stir to combine and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to a low medium and simmer until the oats have absorbed the liquid. 

Remove the oats from the heat and let cool completely. 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 

Coat your hands with some brown rice flour and scoop 2 tbsp of the oat mix into your hands. Roll into a ball and lightly press into patty. The brown rice flour helps crisp the patties up without oil. 

Bake 15 minutes on each side. Serve them up and enjoy!! 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Toliet Paper Tube Framed Art

Here is a cute little project that reuses toliet paper tubes, paper towel tubes, cracker or cereal boxes and old frames. You can customize these anyway you like to match a girls room or a living room. 

You can also make them as big as you like too. Keep in mind you will need more tubes and boxes if you do make a larger one. 

Here are the supplies you will need for a 10x10 piece.
10x10 frame with the glass and pegs removed 
enough toilet paper tubes to make 15 1/2" petals
cracker or cereal box
acrylic paint in three colors and brushes
mod podge
hot glue
3 acrylic gems

Paint your frame with white paint. You can spray paint it outside or you can give it a few coats of acrylic paint. Paint the bottom and sides first, then the top.

Lightly press the toilet paper tubes and make 1/2" marks on them. Cut at the marks to make your petals. You will need five for each flower. Once all of the petals are cut, paint the entire petal, inside and out with a bright pink. 

Cut the short ends of your cracker box off leaving the entire front and back pieces in tact. Paint both sides light blue. When completely dry, make 1/2" marks at the short ends. With a ruler, make lines across the box and cut 1/2" strips. 

Let's make the flowers first. With a hot glue gun, attach five petals to each other one at a time at one end of the petal until you have a flower. Add the the acrylic gem to the center with additional hot glue. Complete this for three flowers

On the back side of the frame, place the flowers on the frame in a way that appeals to you and attach with hot glue. 

Coil the blue strips with a skewer and attach the flowers with hot glue. You can make long coils or short ones. 

Add as many as you like filling up the frame. 

When you are finished, coat the entire piece with mod podge starting with the back. This will ensure your piece will last. 

Please watch the video for more info.