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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.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Roasted Butternut Squash Burrito Bowl

I am not a big fan of butternut squash but I am trying to like it because I know it's good for me.  It is an excellent source of B6, fiber, potassium, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Anyway, I came across this recipe yesterday in a magazine and thought, man this sounds really good. I think I am going to try this. So, today I did and it's really good. Glad I have leftovers for tomorrow too. 

Another great thing about this squash besides the health benefits is it's really inexpensive. I bought a small organic one pounder and it was only $2. I'm sure non organic would be a lot cheaper than that too. 

And do not toss the seeds. You can treat and eat them just as you would pumpkin seeds. They are also loaded with fantastical nutrition. 

Why don't we get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 small butternut squash
1 tbsp cold pressed oil
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
water as needed to thin the marinade. just a little at a time.

You will also need toppings: These are all to your liking and are approximations of what I used. 
2 cups of brown rice, quinoa would work too
1 1/2 cups black beans
1/2 cup salsa
chopped tomato
1 small avocado diced
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 small wedge fresh lime

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl mix the oil and spices. Add a little water at a time to thin the marinade. 

Peel and seed the squash. Cut into small bite size pieces and add to the marinade. Toss to coat as evenly as possible. Transfer to a baking tray and roast for about 25 minutes or longer depending on your taste.

In a large serving bowl mix the rice and beans. Top with the roasted squash and desired toppings. Serve and enjoy!!!! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

Vegan Pumpkin Un Roll Cake

Hey everyone, the hippie here with my most favoritist holiday dessert ever. I swear I'm not kidding. I love a pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting. All vegan of course but, I realized making a roll cake might be a little intimidating for some. I know it was for me when I first made it. Don't you fret though. This is the same exact recipe as a cake roll. It's just not rolled. ha ha It's sooooo good and I can't wait to have it again.

Let's get right to the recipe. Here is what you will need.
3/4 cup unbleached all purposed flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2/3 cup vegan sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce (or 3 tbsp neutral oil)
2 tbsp plant milk (I used almond but any will do)
1 tsp vanilla

4 ounces of vegan cream cheese at room temperature
1 tbsp vegan butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine pumpkin puree, sugar, apple sauce, vanilla and milk.

Gradually add the flour mix to the pumpkin mix.

Pour into a 8" round pan and bake for 25- 30 minutes. Or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.

The frosting.
Cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar.

Depending on the brand of vegan cream cheese you use, you might need to make the frosting the night before and let it sit in the fridge over night.

Once the cake is cooled, spread the frosting over the very carefully. 

You can make a layer cake by making two of these and doubling the frosting. Or they would be fantastic as cupcakes. 

Serve and enjoy. If there are any leftovers, store them in the fridge. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Vegan Holiday Lentil Loaf // Oil Free

Hey everyone, the hippie here with another holiday recipe for you. This loaf would be great for Sunday roast dinner too. It's also a fantastic way to get your oats in. The original recipe is by High Carb Hannah. It was good but I made a few changes to suit us.

I think I mentioned previously that I've never really had a holiday dinner since becoming vegan. I've made pasta once or twice or I've had salad or just vegetables. Oh yea, I had Gardein turkey cutlets once too. Anyway, my daughter and I are both really excited about this years dinner. Stevie even tested a biscuit recipe that is really good. And they were really easy. Maybe we will share that too. 

There is a lot of prep work involved but it's really worth it. Your arteries and heart will thank you for it. ha ha

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 1/2 cups brown lentils
1/2 cup red lentils
1 carrot finely diced
2 stalks celery finely diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 medium onion diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable broth or water

Put everything from the lentils to the broth in a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover. Let simmer about 20 minutes. The brown lentils should be done or have a slight bite to them. Turn the heat off once they are done. 

Step 2 - Preheat your oven to 350 degrees You will need
3 flax eggs
1 tbsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp mushroom powder
1 1/2 cups oat flour

Add the everything from the flax eggs to the mushroom powder. Mix to combine. 

If you do not have mushroom powder, you can add some fresh finely diced mushrooms as well.

Add the oat flour and mix really well. It will get really thick and that's what you want. The reason I add the oat flour last is to make sure everything else gets mixed really well. Once you add the oat flour, it gets really difficult to stir. 

Add the mix to a standard loaf pan. Should fit perfectly. Smooth the top out and add a layer of organic ketchup. Or barbecue sauce if you like. Bake for about an hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 20 minutes before serving. Enjoy!!

The mashed potatoes and gravy are super easy. Steam or boil your favorite spuds. I use golden or red skin. Drain the water and add some salt and pepper and some plain unsweetened plant milk. Mash them up. 

The gravy recipe is from Dr. McDougal by way of Anja at Cooking with plants. 
In a sauce pan add:
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup low sodium tamari
1/2 cup water
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
1/4 tsp salt
Bring these ingredients to a boil.
Whisk in 1/3 cup brown rice flour a little at a time. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Vegan Cornbread Casserole

So, for the last few years I have been wanting to recreate a favorite of mine. Cornbread Casserole yes indeed. Many, many, many years ago, I used to make this fantastic dish for the holidays. I lost the original recipe some time ago but I remembered that it had cream style corn, cheddar cheese and green bell pepper in it. Sounds weird right but man it was so good. 

With the holidays coming up, I really wanted to finally give this recipe a go. You see, since I've been vegan, I really have not made a proper holiday meal. I just eat whatever. Oh I did once try Gardein's holiday roast and it was OK but not something to write home about. 

Image may contain: food

Anyway, this year my daughter and myself are planning a real holiday meal for ourselves. We are making a lentil loaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, the whole deal. Dessert too. We are also trying to stay as healthy as possible too. Some exceptions will be made but we will only be having these dishes a few times a year.

This Cornbread Casserole is the second recipe we have tested for our holiday menu. I got it nearly perfect on the first try too. And I can't believe my daughter really likes it. She can be a really picky eater but devoured this.

Image may contain: food

OK so let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. I know it's a lot but it will be worth it.

1 cup organic cornmeal
1/2 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup organic sugar
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp black ground pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup melted vegan butter
1 flax egg
1 cup plain unsweetened plant milk
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 green bell pepper diced small
1 15.25 ounce can of organic corn drained or roughly this size
1/2 cup plain unsweetened plant milk

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

Be sure to prepare your flax egg first so that it's ready to go. 

First thing we need to do is prepare the cream style corn. Put the corn and 1/2 cup plant milk in a blender. You do not want it completely smooth but you want it creamy with little chunks of corn. Blend and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder and nutritional yeast. Whisk to combine. 

Add the 1 cup milk, flax egg, butter and the blended corn. Stir to combine but do not over stir. 

Stir in the onion and green bell pepper.

I used a casserole baking dish that is about 10" X 8" but you can use any baking dish you have. An 8X8 or 9X9 pan would work great. You will have to adjust the bake time depending on the pan you use. 

Lightly oil your pan and pour in the casserole batter. Bake for about 25 - 35 minutes. It should be done when the edges pull from the sides and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. It might be a little gooey but that's how it's supposed to be.

If you are not a fan of nutritional yeast, you can add some vegan cheddar. 1/2 to 3/4 cup should do it. 


Monday, October 8, 2018

Homemade Chao Mac N Cheese

I know there is a Mac n Chao out there to be purchased but I can't find it anywhere. I've been looking for two years and I just have had no luck finding it. Now I can have it anytime I like and since the holidays are right around the corner, this dish would be an excellent side dish at any dinner.

Anyway, my daughter came up with the brilliant idea to make our own mac n Chao. I don't think she knows that there is already a Mac N Chao out there so I'm not telling her. I was really excited about this idea too. Smacked my forehead and said "why didn't I think of that". 

It's really easy as well and the best mac n cheese I've had in almost six years.

Let's get right to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 7 ounce package of Chao Creamy Original grated or sliced up finely
2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp flour
2 cups cold plain unsweetened plant milk
2 - 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste
5 cups pasta cooked. measure then cook according to package directions.

Side note about the grated Chao. You do not really have to grate it but it makes it tons easier when you need to pour it into the roux. 

First thing we are going to make is a roux (pronounced roo) or cheese sauce.

In a large fry pan, melt the butter over medium heat. 

Add the flour and whisk to combine. Whisk for a minute or two to ensure the flour has been cooked. 

Slowly add the cold plant milk a little at a time and whisk thoroughly each time. It will not look like much at first but the more milk that is add, the creamier it will become. 

With each addition of milk, whisk several minutes until the sauce or roux has become thick again. 

When you have added all of the milk and the roux has thickened up, add the Chao and continue to whisk until is smooth and creamy. This will take two or three minutes. 

Add the nutritional yeast and salt and stir to combine. Give it a taste to make sure it is to your liking. 

Once you are happy with the roux, add the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Vegan Birthday Cake

Usually I treat myself to vegan scallopini picata on my birthday but, this year I wanted Impossible Sliders with no cheese from White Castle. I also wanted chocolate cake which I had not had in a few years. I should have taken a picture of the slider's for you but I just forgot. They are delicious by the way. If you live in the Midwest and like White Castle, you should try them.

Now, I realize I said I was cutting back on the junk food and oil and sugar and all of those bad things but I treated myself on my birthday. I can do that. 

For dessert which I normally do not have, I wanted chocolate cake. It's so easy too. You will need a small pan or you can even make little mini cupcakes.

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1/4 cup neutral oil (I used organic canola oil)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup cacao
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 cup vegan butter room temp
1 tbsp cacao
1 cup powdered sugar
splash of vanilla
almond as needed to thin frosting.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil and sugar. 

Add the remaining ingredients and whisk thoroughly. 

Depending on the pan you use, you might need too lightly oil your pan so the cake will come out easily. If you are making little cupcakes, you will need cupcake liners. 

If you make cupcakes, do not fill the liners all of the way. Fill them about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way. They will rise. These should take about 12 minutes to bake. You will have to watch and test them with a tooth pick.

I used a silicone pan that is about five inches in circumference. 

Once you have decided on the pan you will use, pour the batter in desired pan and bake. My five inch pan took about 35 minutes. 

Let it cool for a few minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely. 

With an electric mixer, beat butter, add cacao, powdered sugar and vanilla. If it is to thick, add just a very little bit of almond milk. 

Once your cake is cooled completely, spread the frosting evenly onto the cake and enjoy!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Vegan Pumpkin Brownies/Blondies

It's pumpkin season which you probably already know but, I love it just as much as anyone. The smell of pumpkin anything baking away is warming to the soul. 

I'm working on a couple different pumpkin recipes because I wanted to try different things this year. I was going to make cookies but last minute I changed my mind and decided to make brownies/blondies. They turned out really well too. I think I even converted my daughter too. She has never been one to like pumpkin pie but once she smelled these baking, she said she needed to try one. She ended up having two, ha ha. 

This is a super simple recipe too. Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 

1 cup oat flour
1 cup pumpkin
1 mashed banana or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 flax eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 cup maple syrup (depends on how sweet you like it)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, mash the banana. 

Add the pumpkin, flax eggs, syrup and mix to combine. 

Add the remaining ingredients and mix to combine. 

Line an 8 X 8 with unbleached parchment and pour the batter in making sure it's evenly spread out in the pan. 

Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The time will depend on your oven. 

Let the brownies completely cool in the pan. Remove and cut into squares and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Vegan Raspberry Zingers

I'm going to make this short and sweet. No pun intended. Several months ago I wanted to try and create a vegan version of the raspberry zinger cake that is sold by a popular processed treat company. They remind me of a twinkie but they have a raspberry and coconut coating. They were my favorite growing up. 

Since I am trying to eat healthier these days, I thought I would try a much healthier and simpler version. I must say I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. There are only four ingredients as well. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
1 cup of pitted dates (soaked or not soaked, doesn't matter)
1/2 to 3/4 cup soaked cashews
1/2 cup freeze dried raspberries
shredded coconut

If you have a good quality high speed blender, I recommend using it. 

If you do not have a high speed blender, I recommend processing the cashews first until they get creamy like. Then chuck in the dates and raspberries and process until one big ball is created. 

If you do have a high speed blender, add the dates, cashews and raspberries and blend until smooth and one big ball is formed. 

Once done, scoop out tablespoonfuls and roll into a ball then roll in the coconut. 

If they are really soft, let them sit in the fridge for a bit to set up.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Vegan Taco Soup // Oil Free // Delicious

I find a lot of inspiration for recipes from non vegan recipes. This recipe is no exception. I really can't remember where I saw the non vegan version of this soup but when I did see it, I was certain that I could veganize it and it would be delicious. I did not let myself down at all. I am so in love with this soup. Before I am even finished with the current bowl, I already can't wait for the next meal so I can have another one. Yes it's that good. 

While I was thinking about how to make this soup, I had this idea of having a warmed flour tortilla with it on the side. I could taste the soup before I even made it. Has that ever happened to you? And it worked. That doesn't happen to often for me but I love it when it works. 

Another great thing about this soup is, it is really easy to make. I mean you just will not believe it. You can easily double the ingredients for a large family too. Perfect for meal prep as well. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 cup dried brown lentils
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup finely diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
1 10 ounce can of Rotel (canned tomato and green chile's) OR 1 can regular diced tomato
4 tbsp taco seasoning
2 or 3 tbsp tamari
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
8 oz vegan cream cheese (I'm using Kite Hill)
salt and pepper to taste

Optional add ins:
Pre-cooked diced potato which I highly recommend or 1 1/2 cups of cooked pinto beans. I have not tried it with the pinto beans but I am sure it will be really good.

In a large soup pot, add the water, lentils and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and let simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the lentils soft and the water has been absorbed. Once the lentils are done, carefully remove the bay leaf and save for composting. 

Add the onion, garlic and seasonings. Give it a good stir.

Add the veg broth, tomatoes and tamari and bring it back to a nice heat. 

Whisk in the Kite Hill cream cheese. The warmth of the soup will help melt the cream cheese into the soup. 

Give it a taste and adjust seasonings to your liking and enjoy. Don't forget to try it with a warmed flour tortilla on the side or with some cubed potato mixed in the soup. Neither will disappoint.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Cannellini Bean Vegan Caesar Dressing and Chickpea Wraps // Nut Free

I came up with this recipe for three reasons. The first reason is I didn't have any cashews which is what I normally use and I really had a taste for vegan caesar. The second reason is beans are lower in calories and fat. Much, much lower in calories. The third reason is great northern and cannellini beans, beans in general, are not as costly as cashews. Don't get me wrong, I love cashews but they can be really expensive. 

I just thought of another reason. Some people might have an allergy to cashews so this will be good for them too. 

I also ran out of vegan Worcestershire and didn't realize it at the time so I improvised and used tamari. I actually prefer it over the vegan Worcestershire. 

This is great for meal prep too. Double the amount of chickpeas and you can have them for lunch all week. 

Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 
1 1/2 cups of cannellini beans
1/2 cup plain plant milk
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 clove of garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tbsp capers
1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire or tamari
1/2 tsp salt 

Put everything in a blender or processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Give it a taste and adjust accordingly. 

For the wraps you will need the following:
1 1/2 cups chickpeas
romaine, tortillas or your favorite wrap of choice
vegan Parmesan
chopped tomato

Toss the chickpeas into a processor and process until crumbly. Do not over process or you will have hummus. Transfer the chickpeas to a large bow. and add enough vegan caesar to nicely coat the chickpea crumble.

Spread some on your lettuce or wrap of choice. Add some tomato and vegan Parmesan. Pepper too if you like. Roll it up and enjoy. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

Roasted Corn Salad // Oil Free // Whole Foods

Have you ever had elote?  It's a Mexican street food of roasted corn on the cob smothered with mayonnaise and parmesan and some lime. This recipe is a salad similar to elote and just as delicious. Oh yea, elote translated is corn cob. 

One major component of elote is mayonnaise and since I am avoiding mayonnaise right now, I decided to try it with avocado instead. And, since organic corn on the cob is super hard to find, I thought I would make a salad out of it. By the way, Whole Foods has organic roasted corn in the freezer section. It's so good. 

This recipe also needs some vegan parmesan which is incredibly easy to make too. Just toss a few ingredients into a food processor and pulse a few times just until it looks like, well sawdust. 

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

1/4 cup of raw cashews or almonds (both work great)
1 tbsp of nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp pink himalayan salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Add all ingredients to a food processor and pulse just a few times. Like I said earlier, until it's like sawdust. Do not over process or the oil of the nuts will start to come out and then you will have parmesan butter. Hey, there's an idea. 

Transfer your vegan parmesan to a container with an air tight lid.

Roasted Corn Salad
2 cups roasted organic corn
1 small avocado
fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp pink himalayan salt
1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro
pinto beans and fresh tomato are great additions to this salad too

Heat up your corn and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mash up the avocado with the salt, lime juice and cilantro. Start with just a squeeze of lime and adjust to your liking. 

Add the corn and mix well. You can also add some pinto beans and or chopped tomato. 

Sprinkle with a little vegan parmesan. Serve and enjoy.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Zucchini Lasagna Bowl

So, the other day I came across a recipe on Facebook. It sounded really good but sadly it was not vegan but I immediately thought that would be so easy to make vegan. Just need to make a few easy adjustments.

The original recipe consisted of #zoodles, ricotta, parmesan, Italian sausage and maybe some mozzarella. I knew the ricotta would be easy because I've made it before and I have also made vegan Italian sausage with TVP so I knew that would be easy too. I eliminated the parmesan and mozzarella for two reasons. One, I didn't have time to make parmesan and two, I am trying not to eat so many processed foods so no mozzarella. But if you want to add those, by all means feel free to do so. 

For the Italian sausage part, I wanted to try something different and more healthy than TVP. I decided to try brown lentils and I can't believe how well they turned out. So good which is triggering more ideas for other recipes. 

There are three parts to this dish but I assure you they are all super easy. 

Let's get to the recipe. 
Part 1
The Lentils Italian Style
1 cup of brown lentils
3 cups of water
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp fennel seed
1 tsp ground sage
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried basil 
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground thyme
2 - 4 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp red wine vinegar (optional)
1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce

Add the lentils, water and bay leaf to a stock pot or medium sauce pan with a lid. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low medium, cover and let simmer until all or most of the water has been absorbed by the lentils. Should take about 20 minutes. Check the lentils to make sure they are cooked and do not feel like they are little pebbles. If they are still like little pebbles, continue to simmer until they are done. Once they are finished cooking, remove the bay leaf and toss it out.

When the lentils are finished, remove from the heat and add everything else except the pasta sauce. Give the lentils a taste and make sure they are to your liking. Once you are satisfied, add the pasta sauce and set aside. 

Part 2 The Tofu Ricotta #tofuricotta
1 - 16 ounce package organic silken tofu
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Add everything to a food processor and blend until everything is combined. Give it a taste and make sure it's to your liking. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. 

Part 3 This last part is the easiest. The Zoodles!!!
For one serving, I zoodled 1 1/2 large zucchini. That's it. 

Coat the zoodles with some of the tofu ricotta. It's really up to you how much you had. Then add the lentils. You can let them sit on top or mix them up with the zoodles. 

That's it. Please enjoy.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Roasted Russets with Creamy Chipotle Dip

Since becoming vegan over five years ago, I crave things that I never had any interest in. Like vegan Asian food, hummus, anything with tahini dressing and I'm sure there are others. I just can't think of them right now. Anyway, today I had another one of those cravings. I've got to say it's really weird too because I've never in my life wanted this. I wanted roasted russet potatoes with a creamy chipotle sauce/dip. 

I bought a small can of chipotle peppers a while ago for something else, jackfruit tacos I think, but I never used them. 

So I roasted up some russets and proceeded to make my dip. By the way, did you know potatoes are good for you. Why are people so afraid of them?

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

1 cup of raw cashew (soaked if you do not have a high powered blender)
1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce 
1/2 cup of plain unsweetened plant milk
1/2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
the juice of half a lemon
water for thinning out the dip

Toss everything into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. That's it. So easy and practically oil free.

I cut two russet potatoes and roasted on 400 degrees in the air fryer for 15 minutes and dipped them in the chipotle dip. That was lunch. So good. I was sad when I was finished because it was all gone. But, I have plenty of dip for tomorrow and I can't wait. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Lemon Waffles with Wild Blueberry Topping

There used to be this vegan food truck that came to the farmers market every Sunday in my area and they had the best lemon waffles with blueberries. Every year, my daughter and I couldn't wait for the market to start so we could go get those waffles. We didn't even wait until we got home. We sat in the car and enjoyed them right there.  

The food truck was called Early Bird and they have since shut down. Not sure why they shut down but I miss those waffles and blueberries. It's been about three years since I had them last and I have really been craving them. So I decided to come up with my own recipe. 

If you love lemon and blueberry, you will love these waffles. Let's get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 

This recipe is enough for two waffles but can easily be doubled.

Wild Blueberry Topping
1 cup fresh or frozen wild blueberries (I use frozen)
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp cornstarch

Put everything into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until thickened stirring continuously. This should only take a few minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool while you make the waffles. 

Lemon Waffles
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 cup neutral oil (avocado, rapeseed or safflower would be great)
3/4 cup plant milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon extract
lemon zest which is optional
2-3 tbsp maple syrup

First step requires making a vegan buttermilk which is really easy. All you need to do is combine the plant milk and vinegar. Let it sit for about ten minutes and it will curdle. After it has curdled, add the lemon extract, maple syrup and oil. 

In a mixing bowl add the flour, baking powder, salt and whisk to combine.  

Add the buttermilk mixture and stir to combine. Should be like thick pancake batter. 

Preheat your waffle iron and cook accordingly. Every waffle iron is different so you will need to follow the directions for the iron you have. I cooked mine for seven minutes. 


Monday, July 2, 2018

Vegan Spaghetti Sauce // Bolognese

A long, long, looooong time ago, before I was vegan, I came up with my very own spaghetti sauce that my dad and I loved. I'm talking 30 years ago and back than I had no idea what bolognese was. Anyway, the only thing I had to change to make it vegan was the meat and that was a piece of cake. My daughter loves it too by the way. I swear you can't tell it's vegan. If you are a new vegan, a transitioning vegan or simply like faux meats, this is absolutely for you. Do not skip one step. 

I am trying to give up processed vegan food but once in a while, I want something from BV (before vegan). I am telling you, you will not miss anything with the sauce. 

Let's get to it. Here is what you will need. 
First Step
1 green bell pepper diced
1 onion diced
1 can mushroom pieces or 1/2 cup fresh diced mushrooms 
Water or veg broth for sauteing

In a large fry pan, heat up the water or broth over medium heat. Add all the vegetables and saute until everything is tender and fragrant and starts to slightly char. This will take about 15 minutes. Set aside. 

Second Step
1 package of Gardein Beefless Ground (I call them crumbles)
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 small 6 ounce can tomato paste
2 14 ounce cans of tomato sauce
1 jar spaghetti sauce (whatever size you get will be fine)
1 tbsp garlic powder
water or veg broth for sauteing

In a large stock or soup pot, add some water and crumbles and cook over medium heat until heated through and slightly crispy. 

Add Italian seasoning and stir to combine.

Add the entire can of tomato paste and coat the crumbles thoroughly. Over the years I found this step should never be skipped. The sauce will just not be the same.

Add the tomato sauce. Pour a little water into the cans and swish around to get every last drop of sauce and pour into the pan. Sprinkle the garlic powder and give it a good stir.

Add the spaghetti sauce. Add a little water to the jar and swish around the same way as the tomato sauce and add to the pan.

Add the sauteed vegetables. Give it a good stir, turn the heat down and let it heat through. 

The bolognese is ready to serve over some cooked spaghetti or zoodles. Both are delicious. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Vegan Veggie Fajitas

Did you ever get a taste for something from when before you were vegan and just couldn't shake it? That happened with me and fajitas. Funny thing is, I rarely ate them but I just wanted that grilled taste of vegetable in a flour tortilla. 

So I looked up several recipes for fajita seasoning and I looked at some store bought seasonings too then came with my own. I nailed it on the first batch. They are so freaking delicious. You will never miss the meat either.

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

Fajita Seasoning
3 tbsp cold pressed extra virgin olive 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

Whisk everything together in a large bowl and set aside.

The veggies
1 green bell pepper sliced into thin strips
1 red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper sliced into thin strips
1 large onion - quartered then sliced into thin strips
1 cup of baby bella mushrooms sliced thinly

Put all of the vegetables in the seasoning and toss to coat all of the vegetables.

Transfer the seasoned vegetables to a large fry pan and cook on medium heat until they become tender and they start to caramelize. 

Serve on warmed tortillas with vegan sour cream, fresh cilantro and tomato and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Chickpea & Avocado Salad

Sometimes the most delicious food is incredibly easy to make and has very few ingredients. And, you usually already have the ingredients in your home. Most vegans have chickpeas and avocado all of the time. I know I do. Chickpeas are so versatile too. They can be used for everything from falafel to cookies and avocado is a fantastic substitute for mayo. That's why I love this salad so much.

I served this salad on herbed flavor #Marysgonecrackers with a little tomato but it would pair well in a lettuce wrap too. Such a nice, light lunch or snack. 

So let's get to it. Here is what you will need.
1 can chickpeas rinsed and drained
1 or 2 small avocados
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp dried parsley or 1/4 cup fresh
1 tsp dried chives
sprinkle of fresh lemon juice
black pepper and salt or Adobo seasoning to your liking

In a large bowl, mash up the chickpeas with the back of a fork until it is crumbly.

One avocado will work just as nicely as two. Just depends on how creamy you like your salad. Slice open the avocado gently and scoop out the flesh. Add to the crumbly chickpeas.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Give it a taste to make sure it is seasoned to your liking. 

A couple optional ingredients are halved grape tomatoes and Mary's Gone Crackers. Scoop a little of the salad onto a cracker and top with a tomato. You could also enjoy this salad as a sandwich. That would be great. Enjoy!!!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Vegan Fried Cabbage & Tempeh Bacon

So the other day I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across a post from someone for Southern Fried Cabbage and Bacon. This post was from someone who is not vegan but I thought, I bet this would be really good with tempeh #FakinBacon. And I thought how could I make this dish a little more hardy. Potatoes and mushrooms should be added I said to myself. Oh and some onions too. 

My version is not oil free but it most definitely could be made without oil. You would just have to cook everything with some vegan vegetable broth. I do not recommend water because there would be no extra flavor. 

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

1 pkg of LightLife Tempeh Fakin Bacon
8 ounces of portabella mushrooms roughly chopped
1 onion diced
4 baby gold potatoes diced
1/2 head of cabbage chopped into 1" pieces
cold pressed extra virgin oil for cooking tempeh
vegan vegetable broth for cooking the potatoes and cabbage
1 tsp garlic powder
Adobo seasoning or salt

In a large fry pan, heat up some extra virgin olive oil over medium heat and cook the tempeh until it looks really crispy on both sides. Once the tempeh has finished cooking, transfer to plate. When it is cooled, chop into 1/2" pieces. 

In the same pan, saute the onion and mushroom until the onions are golden and the mushrooms have been cooked down. 

Add the potatoes and about 1/2 cup veg broth. Give it a good stir and cover. Let it simmer for 10 - 15 minutes or until the potatoes are almost done. 

Add the cabbage, tempeh, garlic powder and Adobo. Give it another good stir. Cover and let it cook for another 10 minutes. Add more broth if needed to prevent everything from sticking. 

Give it a sample taste to make sure it is well seasoned and to your liking. Serve and enjoy.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Vegan Italian Stew with Beyond Sausage

I have to admit I was leery of trying Beyond Italian Sausage. Why you ask? Well, I was really afraid I would like it to much. Of course, I was right. If you gave Beyond Sausage to a non vegan, I swear they would never know it is plant based. Even my daughter liked it and she is really hard to please. 

Yes it is expensive but, this recipe will make it last a little longer than a couple of bites. And you can add more to the stew to make it last even longer. It is totally worth it though. 

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

2 prepared Beyond Italian Sausages
1-28 ounce can of diced tomato
1-15.5 ounce can of cannellini beans rinsed and drained
1 large zucchini diced into bite size pieces
1 small can of mushrooms chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

I sauteed the sausages in a little extra virgin olive oil until they were browned on all sides along with the mushrooms. You can also add a little veg broth or water to cook them up. Remove the sausages from the pan when they have finished cooking. Leave the mushrooms in the pan.

Add the tomato, beans, zucchini and spices. Stir to combine. 

Slice the sausage in half long ways then into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the stew. Stir again and enjoy.

Oh yea, by all means, you can double the tomato, beans, mushrooms and zucchini and use all four sausages to make a bigger batch.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Loaded Guacamole

If you love guacamole as much as I do, you will certainly love Loaded Guacamole. This recipe is so versatile too. You can add any vegetables you like but my combination is sure to please. This recipe will make your avocado go a long way as well.

My favorite thing about Loaded Guacamole is you can turn it into a meal. Serve it with tortilla chips or wrap some up in lettuce leaves and you are good to go. Of course it doesn't have to be a meal. It would be great as a side dish too. 

Why don't we get to the recipe. Here is what you will need. 

1 avocado
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
juice of 1/2 a lime
1 diced tomato
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup black beans
1 cup corn
1 green onion sliced
salt to taste
tortilla chips
lettuce leaves

Slice open the avocado, carefully remove the pit and scoop out the wonderful avocado and transfer to a bowl. Optional, you can score the avocado before scooping it out. That is a total preference.

Add the cilantro, lime juice and salt. Mash and mix it up. Give it taste and make sure it's to your liking and add more salt if needed. 

Add the tomato, beans corn, onion and quinoa. Stir to combine. Serve with tortilla chips or wrap in a lettuce leaf and enjoy.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Buffalo Cauliflower Wrap with Ranch Sauce

It's a very rare occasion when I crave buffalo sauce or any type of hot spicy food. The last few days I have been wanting buffalo cauliflower but I wanted to turn it into a wrap. Of course, that was not hard at all. 

The making of the buffalo cauliflower was actually pretty easy. Would have been a whole lot easier if my oven was working but I'm not complaining. My little toaster oven works just as good. Just have to cook everything in small batches. 

So let's get to it. Here is what you will need for the buffalo cauliflower.

3-4 cups of cauliflower florets
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
3/4 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix the the flour, spices and water. This will make a nice batter for the cauliflower. Add the cauliflower and toss to coat. 

Add the batter coated cauliflower to a baking tray lined with parchment or a silicone baking sheet. Spread it into a single layer and bake for about 20 minutes until it's golden brown. 

Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl. Add some of your favorite hot sauce. I use Frank's. Toss to coat and return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes. 

The Ranch Sauce
1/2 cup of raw cashews
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried chives
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white wine vinegar

Into a blender add the cashews, water, vinegar and spices. Blend til smooth. Pour into a small bowl and add the herbs. Stir to combine.

The Wrap
You will need your favorite flour tortilla, some shredded romaine, chopped tomato and whatever else you might like on your wrap. 

Add some romaine, tomato and some of the buffalo cauliflower. Then add some of the ranch sauce. Fold and enjoy.