Category Archives: recipes

“Soyrizo” with brown rice and veggies

I can’t believe I actually have a food post to share with you guys. It’s a rarity these days, I know. I have just been waiting to be inspired. I’m glad it happened!

Truthfully, this recipe isn’t anything spectacular on the surface. Just a few ingredients I threw together that ended up tasting great. And it’s good for those of us who like to save money on meals :)

“Soyrizo” with brown rice & veggies (about 3-4 servings)

Ingredients:

Directions
  • Steam rice first since that takes a good 45-50 minutes (but is so worth it to me)
  • Remove soy chorizo from casing (you have to squeeze it out) and begin heating in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat
  • Cook peas & mushrooms in the microwave per the bag’s directions
  • Add cooked peas & mushrooms to chorizo on the stove and mix together well until everything seems to be cooked enough
  • Place a scoop of brown rice in your bowl, then add a couple scoops of chorizo-veggie mixture and stir :)

It’s also not the most attractive thing but it’s tasty (spicy!), cheap and filling! I can’t put a price on the brown rice really since I just used a cup dry and I buy a huge bag that lasts me forever. But based on the other two ingredients, I’m guessing this meal would only cost $1-2/per serving.

It could easily feed you and a couple of friends or you and your kids or just you for 3 meals like me :)

I used cereal bowls but they were piled pretty high! The above picture was taken about 2/3 of the way through lunch today, when I had the bright idea to blog about this new “recipe” of mine.

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins

I have been reading Jenna’s blog for years, which means that for a long time, I have been drooling over her recipes! But it’s possible that I have either a) never made any of them myself or b) I have but it’s been so long that I can’t remember.

Well, whichever situation it is, I finally remedied that!

Jenna has a lot of vegan recipes on Eat Live Run but I chose to recreate her originally non-vegan Cinnamon Toast Muffins because I knew they were something my husband and friends would enjoy and that I could easily make some substitutes for myself in order to make it vegan.

Vegan Cinnamon Muffins (adapted from Cinnamon Toast Muffins by Jenna @ Eat Live Run)

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze)

1/2 cup organic sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 Ener-G egg replacer “egg” (1.5 tsp powder + 2 tbsp warm water)

1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

Dash of salt

Topping: 4 tablespoons vegan butter (I used Earth Balance), 1/2 cup organic sugar, 1 heaping tsp cinnamon

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients in one big bowl and the wet ingredients in a second, smaller bowl. Combine the two together and mix until well combined (I always have trouble with flour sticking to the bottom of my bowl so I make sure to scrape the bottom really good as I mix). Bake in a greased muffin tin for 25 minutes, poke center muffin with toothpick to make sure they are done.

To make the topping, melt the butter on the stove and then stir in the sugar and cinnamon. I thought mine was too chunky so I added a little water, then it was too runny so I couldn’t get it to stick very well. Next time I will just roll the muffins in the chunks :)

This recipe yielded 8 muffins for me, I actually used the wrong measuring cup for the flour, milk, and sugar and you will see that Jenna’s original recipe called for more of those three ingredients, so if I had managed to do that correctly, I may have gotten 9 or 10. But they were still awfully delicious!

I took these for dessert to my in-laws house a while back and everyone seemed to enjoy them, but I also had some for breakfast, which I have to say they were probably better suited for. I recommend 10 seconds in the microwave, plus a smear of peanut butter.

Thanks Jenna for sharing amazing recipes with the world. I will definitely make this one again!

Have you tried any great recipes recently? Feel free to share in the comments section!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Redux

If pumpkin just totally disgusts you, then you may want to avoid this blog for…say, three months?

Turns out they had Libby’s canned pumpkin at the Walmart grocery store, so I stocked up, big time.

After a couple bowls of pumpkin oat bran, I decided that it was time to get baking with the stuff. After all, I did buy 10 cans of it. Yes, 10.

It’s my precioussssss….

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while have probably seen a few different takes on Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins.

The original recipe was not vegan, as it contained eggs, but I have been tweaking it over the past year to make these muffins friendly to my diet and still very delicious!

The last time I made them, they came out a little dry and stuck to the paper. I hate that!

I decided to give them another go this week for Girl’s Night Potluck on Wednesday. When I busted out the paper, I checked the date on it for fun.

I have apparently been using this recipe since 2008!

I made a few substitutions, quite a few actually, so I will share the recipe with you since it varies so much from the original (see picture and link above).

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups Whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Agave nectar
  • 2 Flax “eggs” (2 tbsp milled flax seed mixed with 1/4 cup water)
  • 3/4 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin (accept NO substitutes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (because I love it that much)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • A few shakes of salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I use the Kroger brand which has no dairy)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375* (reduced heat due to use of agave nectar. See tips on that here)
  • Line muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
  • Mix the flax “eggs” and let sit for a few minutes.
  • Mix the agave, flax “eggs” and oil in a medium-sized bowl.
  • Add in pumpkin (I omitted water due to use of agave nectar).
  • In a separate, larger bowl, mix together flour, baking powder & soda, spices and salt.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry and mix together well.
  • Fold in chocolate chips.
  • Fill cups evenly and cook for 18-20 minutes (reduced cooking time for agave nectar as well).

The biggest change I made this time was with these two things:

I think the last time (when they stuck to the paper) I also used the Ener-G egg replacer, which is a good product but for baked goods, flax “eggs” work so much better. That’s just my opinion!

This is actually quite an easy recipe to follow and it made my kitchen smell really good!

So…how were they?

Pretty much perfect. They were sweet, moist, and delicious. No paper sticking this time too! My friends were ooh-ing and aww-ing all night so I’m guessing that they liked them too. :)

I am definitely sticking with this version of the recipe for a while. May have to print out this blog post and replace that old paper from 2008!

What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

Pizza e Vino

Confession: I went through a period where I HATED pizza!

It’s one of my husband’s favorite foods but it always left me feeling bloated and miserable, thanks to what I later learned was my intolerance for dairy and my general dislike of the way my body chooses to digest meat.

Thankfully, when I decided to go vegan, I started to love pizza for probably the first time in my life since I felt good eating it!

I swapped out heavy meats for fresh veggies, greasy crusts for pitas, and when I’m in the mood for it, vegan cheese:

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Chicago Soy Dairy company sent me this sample to try out and I decided to use it to make homemade pizza! Sometimes I go completely cheese-less but every now and then “teese” sounds really good :)

I topped a pita with pizza sauce, diced red onion, mushrooms, and grated vegan mozzarella cheese. This is what it looked like before going in to the oven:

009While it was cooking in the oven (425* for 15 minutes) I enjoyed some Romaine salad with Goddess dressing and a glass of wine that I picked up at World Market this weekend.

010I haven’t been drinking much Chardonnay lately because I developed a preference for Pinot Grigio, but this one was fantastic. Plus, I love the name and the label, I’m totally lame like that ;-)

Random question: do you find that you prefer white wines in the summertime and reds in the winter? I think it’s a hot/cold weather thing for me.

When the pizza was done it smelled delicious!

012The cheese didn’t melt all the way but I was hungry and it was good enough for me to go ahead and eat it. I love how pita gets nice and crunchy, just the way I like my crust to be!

011Honestly, the CSD vegan mozzarella cheese was okay. It mostly melted and it tasted pretty good.

But it wasn’t as cheesy as Daiya, which melts a lot better and has a much more cheese-like taste and texture. But I would definitely call this one a close second.

Thanks Chicago Soy Dairy for the sample, I look forward to using it on a few more pizzas in the next couple of weeks!

How do you feel about pizza? What is your favorite topping?

Mama Pea’s slow cooker BBQ tofu

One of my favorite blogs to read every day is Peas and Thank You. The fabulous “Mama Pea” has some excellent recipes (which are vegan) on her blog along with photos of her two adorable girls and tons of hilarious prose.

A few weeks couple of months ago, I saw her make tofu in the slow cooker. Since I am always looking for new ways to enjoy one of my favorite protein sources, I decided I had to try it myself!

Plus, I have two slow cookers and they don’t get used nearly enough.

I drained and pressed the tofu and then sort of just broke it apart as I placed it into the slow cooker. Then I poured in some of this!

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Then I went to work and let it sit in the slow cooker on “low” for about 9 hours. It’s nice to have dinner cooking for you while you are at work!

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I decided to serve it in a pita pocket as a tofu barbecue sandwich.

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Mama Pea never disappoints me! I loved it. :) The Annie’s maple BBQ sauce is amazing too!

Later in the week, I had it leftover on a salad.

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I might’ve liked it even better the second time.

BBQ Tofu salad

What is your favorite way to cook tofu?

Two attempts and counting

Remember that baked squash dish my friend Beth made for our girl’s night potluck a couple of weeks ago?

Well, I liked it so much that ever since then I have tried to recreate that dish at home. It’s been a bit challenging though. I think I am going to have to break down and ask her for the recipe!

First attempt:

In a glass casserole dish, I layered the yellow summer squash, sliced organic (white) onion, some organic mushrooms and then covered it with a can of diced tomatoes. On top, I sprinkled chili powder, garlic powder and sesame seeds. Not sure what I was going for there but I just went with it.

I cooked the dish in the oven at 375* for 40 minutes.


When it was “done” I served myself a nice big helping.

Unfortunately, it was just okay. It didn’t have quite the same texture and flavor that Beth’s dish had. The squash wasn’t as cooked as I would’ve liked it. The diced tomatoes made it too watery. The spices didn’t do anything for it.

But that didn’t keep me from eating it!


At least I know I was getting in my veggies for dinner! I also had some toast with Smart Balance Light and a POM-Seltzer. :)

Unfortunately, I am all out of POM Wonderful now :(


I will be doing a full review of the product soon. I want to get some more but I am going to have to wait for a sale!

Second attempt:


Since Beth’s dish had pasta sauce in it, I figured that was the key — unlike the watery diced tomatoes. This looked like a winner!


In the dish, I had the yellow squash, topped with onions, about 1/2 chopped tomato, the pasta sauce and some oregano. After the dish had cooked for most of it’s time, I added some kidney beans for protein and let it cook a few more minutes (total = 45 minutes at 375*).

Served over whole wheat couscous. This one was much better. The sauce was a good choice. And thanks to the beans (and couscous) it filled me up a lot better than the first one.


I ate the leftovers on top of salad greens for lunch today and it was pretty good. I think letting something sit so the flavors can soak in better makes a huge differences. This is why I love leftovers! :)

Ever try to recreate a dish you really enjoyed? How’d it go?

Chickpea kale stir fry

My friend Kim sent me this recipe last week and I just happened to have most of the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a shot!

Chickpea and Kale Stir Fry

Picture 292 
The only ingredients I did not have were lemon juice (which had expired) and cumin seed. I substituted 1/4 cup orange juice and ground cumin.

I served a portion of the dish over top some brown basmati rice.

Picture 294

This dish turned out okay but lacked a little bit in flavor. I blame that on not having the lemon juice and perhaps I could’ve added some more spices.

Sriracha would’ve helped too but alas, we were out of that as well! Time to restock on a few things!

I also expected more flavor from the basmati rice. It just tasted like regular long grain brown rice to me, what’s that about?

Oh well, it was still a good use of whole grains, veggies and protein, all in one dish! And perhaps I can try it again with all the right ingredients. ;-)

Making vegan pizza

At our Wednesday night potluck this week, it was my turn to bring the main dish and I finally made something I’d been wanting to make since I went vegan…pizza!

I started off with a store bought organic whole wheat crust from Whole Foods.

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I brushed each crust with a little extra virgin olive oil and spread it with tomato sauce sprinkled with garlic and oregano.

Then I started adding the toppings, including this meatless pepperoni:

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And Daiya cheese, which is all the rage in the vegan realm right now!

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Veggie toppings (all organic) included: mushrooms, green peppers, onion, olives…I think that was it. ;)

Before going into the oven!

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I baked each pizza (at 400 degrees) for about 17 minutes to melt the cheese and when the edges of the crust were crispy.

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Before I went home to start making the pizza, I stopped at the store to get some supplies in order to transport them to my friend’s house.

One fit into this cake carrier perfectly, best idea ever!

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And the other one stayed on the baking sheet and got wrapped with this, another very cool invention.

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Finally, served for dinner, alongside some romaine salad.

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It tasted great! The veggies were firm, the faux pepperoni was crisp, and the cheese tasted very cheesy! My only disappointment was that the crust did not get as firm as I would’ve liked. The edges were crunchy but the rest of it was still rather soft.

But everyone really seemed to like it. Between the 5 of us girls, both pizzas disappeared!

I highly recommend the Daiya cheese. It’s not quite the same, but it does have a very cheesy taste and it melts really well, unlike some other non-dairy cheeses on the market.

I can’t wait to use it in lasagna and some other recipes soon!

My first vegan cupcakes

My friend Renee got me this sweet cookbook for my birthday a couple of weeks ago:

I flipped through it really quick when I first got it, but I knew that there were some awesome recipes in here that I couldn’t wait to try. Some friends of ours from church just had a baby, so I decided I would make some vegan cupcakes to take to them!

I chose the Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vegan Cream Cheese Icing to make for them, because these are also Josh’s favorite and I thought it would be a good opportunity for him to try them out too (I omitted the raisins on his behalf).

The recipe was really simple and easy to follow. The worst part was grating the carrots but only because I have a cheapo grater and it wasn’t working too well. I only had to buy a couple of ingredients that I didn’t already have (soy yogurt and vegan cream cheese).

I followed the recipe exactly (except for the raisins) but for some reason, I only managed to fill up 11 cups! If a baker’s dozen is 13, what is 11?

While they were baking in the oven, my apartment smelled so good!

Making the icing was fun and I even tried a little bit of it beforehand…whoa is it sweet! A little bit goes a long way with this stuff which is why I had a lot left over even after icing 11 cupcakes.

I decided to go ahead and try one for myself, so I would know whether anyone else would eat them. I had some organic strawberries on the side. I even used my fancy dessert plates from Pampered Chef that have just been sitting around forever!


I thought the cupcake was absolutely delicious! It was soft, moist and tasty. To me, it tasted just as good as a “regular” cupcake. I loved the icing which added just the right amount of sweetness and creaminess to the cupcake. I couldn’t wait for Josh to try one.


Josh tried one later in the night and remarked: “It’s not that they aren’t good. They just have no flavor.” WHAT?! He also said he didn’t like the walnuts in there, when walnuts are one of the few things he does eat. Ugh.

So I replied: “Well, then, you have no tastebuds!” Ha ha. Oh well, someday I will get him, someday.

I haven’t yet heard if the couple I took them to liked them or not, but they were big fans of the vegan meatloaf I made (recipe). So I’m hopeful! ;-)

Kale chips

I have seen various kale chips on other food blogs for years now and never got up the nerve to try them myself, even though they always looked and sounded delicious.

I have ordered cooked kale at a few restaurants in the past, but have only actually tried using kale at home once, when I made an ill-fated green smoothie with it (I found it to be too bitter). Since then, I have been hesistant to use raw kale for anything.

But when I found this bunch of organic kale at Whole Foods for $2.49, I knew it was time to break some new ground.

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This bunch came from Lady Moon Farms, which is located in Pennsylvania and ships out from a few places along the East Coast. While it’s not exactly local, it’s at least on my side of the U.S. and I appreciate their commitment to organic farming and the information on organic vegetables which they provide on their website.

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I tore a few leaves of the kale into bite-sized pieces and layed it on a cooking sheet. Then I sprayed it with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled it with salt and pepper. Then it went into the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

I decided to keep it simple for my first attempt!

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I also cooked an organic sweet potato in the microwave for about 5 minutes.

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Then topped the potato with some leftover pinto beans, which I cooked in my new barbecue sauce!

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Then I rounded out the meal with the last slice of homemade whole wheat bread from my in-laws spread with some Smart Balance Light.

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The kale chips were so crunchy! I overcooked a few of them, so I think next time I will cut back the cooking time. But I was amazed at how tasty they were. What a great way to get in some healthy greens! I can’t wait to make these again.

I also adored the taste of the Annie’s barbecue sauce. They had a few different flavors to choose from but the Smokey Maple was the most appealing to me so I decided to try it first.

What a deliciously healthy, mostly organic, veggie-filled dinner!

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What is one vegetable you are too afraid to try?

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