Sunday, December 23, 2012

Vegan Fettucini Alfredo with Peas and Parsley

So, it's been awhile... however in my absence from the blogosphere, I did manage to successfully complete my first semester of graduate school! And it was fantastic! Oh the stories... And now I have over a month until school starts up again, and I plan to blog as much as possible. Well, and maybe work on a few projects :)

I have lots of recipes to catch up on, but to start things off, I thought I'd share this recipe for vegan Alfredo sauce that I came up with a few nights ago. It's super simple, and very quick - while the pasta's cooking, the sauce comes together in 5 minutes, so dinner can be on the table in under half an hour (apart from soaking the cashews, but you can prep those about an hour before you're ready to start dinner, or even the night before!).  Andrew and I have been talking about trying a vegan Alfredo recipe for a while now, and last night was the night.

I knew that silken tofu would be instrumental in achieving the creamy texture and appearance of an Alfredo sauce, and I've had quite good results using raw cashews in my vegan cheese sauces and "cheese" cakes, so I hoped that combining the two would give me the results I wanted. And they did! Granted, it's been quite some time (over ten years, in fact) since I've eaten actual Fettucini Alfredo, but this came pretty damn close to my memories of it, and Andrew agreed :)  I wanted to cut the creaminess of the sauce with a little freshness and add a bit of color, so I threw in some fresh parsley and some peas... delicious! This is a MUCH healthier alternative to traditional Alfredo sauce, which is heavily laden with heavy cream and cheese. Here, tofu, cashews and peas lend lots of protein, and while the nuts and Earth Balance add a bit of fat, if this recipe were split into 6 servings, each would still have under 10 grams of fat. And most of that is the good kind! So give it a try. 

Vegan Fettucini Alfredo with Parsley and Peas

  • 1 lbs fettucini noodles
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 pkg soft silken tofu
  • 1/2  cup + 2 TBS nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup raw cashew pieces
  • 1/4-1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS earth balance, or coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, washed and stems removed
One hour before you intend to start dinner, place the cashews in a small bowl, and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak. You can also get the cashews  started the night before if you like. Just cover them with warm water, then place a plate or some cling film on top of the bowl to cover, and let them set overnight.

Boil water for pasta. Place pasta in boiling water. During the last 2-3 minutes of the pasta cooking, add the peas!

While the pasta is cooking:
In a food processor or blender, mince the garlic cloves first. Then add 1/4 cup of the almond milk, and all of the remaining ingredients, except for the parsley, and blend until smooth and creamy. If the sauce is too thick, gradually add more almond milk, until you've achieved the desired consistency. Add the parsley, and pulse 2-3 times to incorporate it. Taste for seasonings, adjust and the sauce is ready!

Drain the pasta and peas, return to pot and add the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta, and serve with roasted veggies or a simple spinach salad. And it actually tastes pretty decent the next day too :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Lazy Sunday Summer Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce


Summer Rolls!
So it's Sunday. It's been a very long week. Andrew and I have both been working different hours, seeing each other for a few minutes in the morning, and for an hour or two at night (when I tend to be so tired he practically has to drag me to bed). However, today we both had the day off, and actually had time to do normal human things, like sleep in, go to the grocery store, put away laundry, clean up the multiple little craft explosions around the house, and drink many leisurely cups of tea. It's been a very nice day of calm. The crazy will start right back up again tomorrow morning, but I've made a point of trying to keep today as homework free as possible (by doing ALL of it yesterday). Though we did stop by the Fine Arts Library, where I picked up about twenty large, heavy, and beautiful books on Tudor fashion, Elizabethan Pageantry, Dior, Alexander McQueen, Fashion & Fetishism, etc. I love libraries. And I seriously love that as a graduate student I get to keep books ALL SEMESTER LONG! Muahahahhahahahahaha!

Anyway... to top off this lovely lazy Sunday, we decided to make Summer Rolls. I know, summer rolls in the fall? However, since Austin seems to have forgotten the fact that it is now mid October (today it got up to 88), these seemed quite apropos.

Summer rolls, Vietnamese style spring rolls, or fresh spring rolls (call them what you will)  usually consist of raw veggies/salad, perhaps tofu, rolled in a rice paper wrapper. They're cool, sticky, crisp and delicious. And they go together fairly fast, since there's really no cooking involved (ours took a bit longer because we wanted to add some baked tofu, which took about 20 minutes to prepare), especially when you have a little assembly line going. We only used about 1/3-1/2 of our wrappers and and made about 15 good sized rolls. And they're super fun! This recipe is just what I happened to have on hand tonight- but you could put just about anything you like in these and I'm sure they'd be delicious. The peanut sauce is based on the one I use in my Pad Thai, and also ridiculously easy to make :)

Summer Rolls

  • 1 12oz package 22cm round rice paper wrappers
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow summer squash, cut into small matchsticks/julienned
  • 1 carrot, cut into small matchsticks/julienned
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2-3 cups mixed greens, spinach, etc. 
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 15oz block tofu, baked (this is my go to method for baked tofu), sliced into 1/2" strips, and cooled
Prep all of your veggies and tofu. It's best to just soak the wrappers as you go - by the time you're done filling one, the next one should be soft enough to begin filling. Follow the package directions on your wrappers for this (I ended up filling a large wide pan with very warm water, and soaking the wrappers for about 5-10 seconds). Lay your softened wrapper out on a plate or cutting board, and fill with goodies! They don't have to be pretty, just try to make sure the ends are closed to prevent the veggies from spilling out (this isn't hard since the rice paper wants nothing more than to stick to itself). Continue assembling until you run out of ingredients.

They're not the most glamorous, but this was our first time :)


Peanut Sauce

  • 3 TBS chunky peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 TBS rice wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2  TBS wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tsp agave nectar

Mix all ingredients together. Dip away!

Andrew with a hand full of summer roll and a bowl of sriracha.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tech and Curry!

So it's been many a month since my last post - and all I can say is, I'm sorry but graduate school (while absolutely, mind-blowingly awesome!) is hard. And time consuming. I have several recipe's on backlog, several started blog posts, but just haven't finished them. However, right now I'm sitting backstage overseeing my wardrobe crew during the season's first tech, during which the shows four actors have no quick changes, and no costume changes period (which basically means we don't have a whole lot to do). So I'm using this time to start blogging again (I've already spent 4 hours on homework :).  I'm starting small, starting simple - with curry :)

*The curry in this picture doesn't actually have the tofu in it - my last batch disappeared before I could capture it on film, so this one's filling in :)

I won't lie, there has been many an evening after a LONG day in the shop, sewing/researching/mulling a hat - when popcorn is the most attractive dinner option. Quick, easy, and soothing. But now that I've gotten a bit more into the groove of things, I've had more time (and made myself find more time) to find my zen in the kitchen. Because if there's one thing that brings me sanity, and soothes my soul, it's cooking. And this is one of my favorites. It's delicious straight out of the pan, but it's even better the next day, as the flavors have had a chance to meld and get cozy with one another. This recipe originally started as my version of chana masala, but I've recently started adding cauliflower and tofu to the mix, and I don't know that I'll ever go back. I love the way that the cauliflower and tofu absorb all of the flavors of the curry, and still retain a good deal of their textures. I also love how easy this curry is to assemble, it's a meal I can basically throw together in my sleep now. I hope you enjoy it! I really want to get back to weekly blogging, but I can make no promises - please be patient with me, and eat some curry while you wait :)

Simple Sunday Night Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry

  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 TBS brown mustard seeds
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 14 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or, spice things up and add 1 can of navy beans instead!)
  • 1- 14 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes, with some of the liquid drained off 
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets 
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes
  • 2-3 heaping tsp of sweet curry powder (one of my favorites comes from The Spice House)
  • ½ -1 tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cup chopped frozen kale
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • juice of 2 small limes
Heat the oil in a medium sized pot, over medium high heat. Add the mustard seeds, and cover the pot. Allow the mustard seeds to pop for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (you want them to toast and pop, but not burn). Carefully remove the lid (watch out for rogue mustard seeds!), and add the onion. Saute for about 2 minutes, until the onion is beginning to brown. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for another 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, beans, cauliflower, curry powder and salt. Stir to combine, cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Allow to cook for about 15 minutes, covered and stirring frequently, then add the tofu and kale and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is very tender. Add the coconut milk and lime juice. Let cook for a few minutes more to heat through, then taste for seasoning and serve over rice :) 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Packing, Sewing, and Black Bean Soup! 


This week has been rather hectic. I'm getting ready to move down to Austin, to start graduate school and the next phase of this "life" thing. So packing, packing, packing! And finishing up a few sewing projects, helping my mom decorate her new office, and then a little more packing with some much needed yoga thrown in. Needless to say, I haven't been in the kitchen quite as much as usual, due to the fact that my days seem to melt away before I have time to notice. However, Monday night, I decided that Tuesday I would cook! I'd been craving black bean soup, so I put some dry black beans to soak overnight in preparation for the next day. I made this Tuesday afternoon when I needed a break from sorting. packing and cleaning, then let it sit for a few hours until dinner. Delicious!

This isn't an original recipe, it's one that I found while staring starry-eyed at my favorite blog search- Taste Spotting. The recipe comes from Vega-Licious, and I've made it several times now. It's quickly become my favorite black bean soup recipe -it's so comforting. If you're pining away for the perfect black bean soup (and of course you are), seriously give this one a try. It's thick, and savory and cumin-y (yep, that is now a word). And, as usual it's even better the next day! The full recipe makes a LOT of soup, so I usually cut it in half which still makes about 8 + servings. Top it with some crushed baked tortilla chips, avocado and fresh tomatoes. So good.

Here is the link to the recipe: Vega-Licious Vegan Black Bean Soup (you have to scroll down a bit as this takes you to all of her soup recipes).

Of course, I don't follow the directions to the letter- because what fun would that be? Here are the things I change.
  • As I mentioned before, I usually cut the recipe in half, so I only use 2 cups of dried black beans.
  • I don't add the cayenne pepper, but use Mrs. Dash Chipotle spice blend instead (regular chipotle chili pepper would be delicious as well), because it provides less heat but a little more smokey chili flavor.
  • Instead of plain old crushed tomatoes, I use fire roasted diced tomatoes instead and just mash them up in the soup.
  • And I'm not always a huge cilantro fan, so to still get some of that brightness at the end of the cooking process, I add the juice of one or two limes during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking. Mmmmm mmmm good!  
Black Bean Soup with a side of pear :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Quick Post-Yoga Zucchini Noodles in Peanut Sauce 

with Smokey Baked Tofu 


So after an hour of sweaty, exhausting power yoga (and a shower) all I wanted was a big bowl of carbs! Pasta to be exact.  However, that doesn't exactly go along with my gluten-free aspirations. I also wanted something quick - as the post yoga hunger set in. So, I improvised! I keep coming across recipes that replace noodles with sliced zucchini, and this seemed like a good time to give it a try. Especially considering the fact that my parents recently returned from visiting my aunt in Missouri with bags and bags of fresh produce from her garden. We'd already used most of the cucumbers in a quick pickle, and eaten more peaches than I ever thought possible - however, we still have quite a few zucchini and summer squash, so I decided to use thinly sliced squash and carrots in place of pasta, toss on a light Pad Thai-esque sauce (because to me, there is nothing more comforting than something smothered in peanut butter), and add some baked tofu for protein. And it turned out rather lovely - and quick! Light, yet filling, and absolutely yummy. By the time the tofu was done getting crispy and delicious in the oven, the noodles and sauce were also ready to serve - about 30 minutes.

I call them Zoodles! Get it - zucchini+noodles - brilliant, I know. Also, as you'll see in the pictures, while I began with the best intentions of creating fine thin strips of squash using a peeler (my mom does own a mandoline, I'm not afraid to admit it - that thing terrifies me - I just know that I'll walk away from it missing skin, so I chose to ignore it's existence). However, after the first squash, I got a bit tired (so many sun salutations), and whipped out my knife - and I actually liked the slightly thicker slices, as they held up better to the blanching. And yes, I chose to blanch the squash, but I may simply saute it next time- I think it would give it a bit more color and flavor.

I love it when an experiment turns out well, and I will definitely be making this again.

Zoodles in Peanut Sauce with Smokey Baked Tofu

serves 3-4

4-5 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into long strips (with a mandoline, if you dare! Muahahaha!)
3 carrots, thinly sliced into half moons

1-2 TBS natural peanut butter
2 TBS wheat-free Tamari
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
1/8 tsp ground ginger

1 package Extra Firm tofu, sliced into 12 pieces
2 tsp wheat-free Tamari
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp liquid smoke (optional)

1-2 TBS roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped (optional for garnish)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

For the Tofu: 
Combine the tamari, garlic powder and liquid smoke in a small bowl. Set aside, and lay out your tofu slices on a cookie sheet (I don't find it necessary to oil the sheet, but you can always wipe it down with a bit of oil if you find that your tofu sticks - I find that about 1/4 tsp of oil on a bit of paper towel smeared about works well - plus, no need for propellants!). Using your fingers, or a brush, brush half of the tamari mixture onto the side of the tofu facing you. Flip them over, and use the rest of the mixture on the other side. This doesn't need to be pretty -just get it as even as you can. Pop the tofu in the oven for 15 minutes, then remove and flip the tofu strips. Place back in the oven, and bake for another 15 minutes, until the tofu is crispy and golden. I find that cooking the tofu at such a high heat gives it an almost fried texture and flavor.

For the Sauce:
Combine all ingredients (it's okay if it starts to separate a bit), and set aside. That was difficult.

For the Zoodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the veggies and tofu. Once the water comes to a boil, blanche the squash and carrots for about 2 minutes, until tender. Remove from the water and drain in a colander. Run under cool water to stop the cooking process. Pour the blanching water out, and return the zoodles to the pot, and add the sauce. Mix to heat through. Serve the noodles with several slices of tofu and garnish with chopped peanuts and enjoy an easy, delicious and healthy dinner!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Scrambled Frittata Pie & Greek Potatoes

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Low Fat

See - I couldn't wait long enough - so my frittata looks a bit more like a scramble here :)

One of my favorite recipes from, is the Vegan Zucchini Frittata: smooth, creamy, light, mildly spiced, slightly eggy tofu goodness. While delicious warm, it is absolutely divine when cold! Especially on a hot summer afternoon. Though I always enjoy the original, I have developed my own adaption of this lovely recipe- I like to add a bit more extra firm tofu, so that it becomes more of a baked tofu scramble pie. I also add more veggies, drawing on my childhood love for quiche : ) This recipe is also very easy to play with by changing up the veggies (I've found that spinach, leeks, and potatoes do well) and spices. Today, I had some lovely roasted red peppers lying about and decided to throw those in with the zucchini, and the result was quite tasty - I really enjoyed the sweetness they brought to the frittata. I also love topping it with a few slivered almonds, the crunchy texture of the nuts alongside the creaminess of the tofu - mmmmm.

While I usually like to serve this with a nice green salad, today I made a batch of Greek potatoes to accompany my scrambled frittata pie - small wedges of Yukon golds, smothered with lemon and oregano, and baked until golden and crispy. Both dishes bake at 400, which makes it easy to have them on the table at almost the same time!

Here is my adaptation of Susan Voisin's Vegan Zucchini Frittata and my recipe for Greek Potatoes!

Roasted Red Pepper and Zucchini Scrambled Frittata Pie

Serves 4-6

  • 1/2 tsp coconut oil (or whatever cooking oil you like)
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1tsp dried oregano or thyme (optional - honestly, I usually omit this)
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated 
  • 4 roasted red bell peppers, roughly chopped
  • 1 14-ounce package extra-firm tofu (not silken), crumbled
  • 1 12.3-ounce package lite firm or extra-firm silken tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup water or unsweetened almond milk (you may need a splash more)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon tahini, or 1 TBS raw cashew pieces (the cashews create their own nut butter in the blender, which makes them a nice substitute if you don't have tahini)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • generous grating of black pepper
  • 2 TBS blanched slivered almonds  (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400.

In a medium sized skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Saute the onions until they begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced zucchini (not the grated), and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the squash begin to soften. Add the grated zucchini, chopped roasted red bell peppers, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper, and crumble in the tofu (not silken). Continue to saute for another few minutes, so that everything is heated through. Set aside.

Onion, zucchini, roasted red peppers and spices.

While the vegetable mixture is cooking, place the rest of the ingredients, except for the slivered almonds, in a blender or food processor, and blend until creamy and smooth. Taste for seasoning, and adjust as needed. Pour the blended tofu mixture into the skillet of veggies, and mix so that everything is incorporated.

I know- this looks delicious :P  It get's prettier, I promise!

Pour the whole lot into a 9" pie or tart pan (you can lightly oil the pan, but I didn't find it necessary). Smooth the top, and place in the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes, remove from the oven, and sprinkle the almond slivers over the top. Return to the oven and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until the almonds are lightly toasted, and the center of the frittata is set.

Pre-oven and almonds.

Allow to cool for about 20 minutes before serving - though, I must admit, I can never let it go that long. Or, place in the fridge overnight, and enjoy it cold the next day!

If you actually allow it to set, it does hold up very nicely.

I like how this is quite chunky - scramble pie!

The almonds really give this some wonderful texture contrast.

Greek Potatoes

serves 6
  • 2lbs small Yukon gold potatoes
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 TBS dried oregano
  • 1 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 tps salt
  • pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

Wash and dry the potatoes. I like to cut each potato into 8 wedges, about 1/2"- 3/4" thick. In a large roasting pan, mix everything together. Place in the oven and cook for 40-60 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Stir every 20 minutes or so. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Today I thought I'd share a list of some of my favorite vegan cookbooks, blogs, and websites.  While I  don't always follow recipes (one of the things I love best about cooking is the freedom of expression and experimentation), I do love my cookbooks!  They're great sources of information and inspiration. I love blogs because they're such a wonderful way to connect to other cooks, and find a community of people dedicated to vegan cooking and living, even if you're surrounded by the Texas stockyards, or Wisconsin dairy land. It lets you reach out and find people trying to break the stereotype of the bland vegan meal, who truly enjoy the creative process and labor of love that makes real, whole, good food. So here are some of my favorite sources of culinary inspiration.

Go-To Blogs and Sites

Fat Free Vegan Susan Voisin's is one of my blogging heroes, and FatFreeVegan is one of my go-to sources when I'm planning the weeks meals. She has so many wonderful recipes - all super healthy, low-fat, and she provides nutrition information for each recipe. She also takes gorgeous photos and gives some really great advice.

 Some of my favorite recipes are: Yellow Split-Pea Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Kale (this years winter soup obsession), Ridiculously Easy Vegetable Gumbo, Spicy Collards and Black-Eyed Pea Soup, Cosmic Cashew Kale with Chickpeas and Confetti Quinoa (LOVE this one - also great stuffed into peppers - though I usually use collards, and just mix the quinoa (confetti-less) in with the the rest), Vegan Zucchini Frittata (so good cold - if it lasts to the next day, that is :), Creamy Vegan Broccoli and Rice Casserole, Taco Salad, - I could go on forever! So please, go check it out!

Taste Spotting For those of us obsessed with food porn (i.e., beautiful photos of food -okay maybe that's not the best label for it, but it's such an apt description...), there is no better site than this! Plus it's a great way to discover new blogs, and a vast variety of different foods. While not specifically a "Vegan Website" it does have a filter, into which I simply put "vegan" and am presented with page after page of gorgeous vegan foods. You can also narrow your search with "raw vegan" or "gluten-free vegan." But be careful - it's entirely too easy to get lost on this site for hours :P My recent discoveries from TasteSpotting? Raw Nectarine Tarts, Piña Colada Smoothies, and Vegan Philly Cheesesteak Sandwhich just to name a few.

VegWeb Was one of the first online vegan recipe sources I discovered back when I first went vegan almost 10 years ago - and it's only gotten cooler. It's basically a big online vegan community - vegan recipe sharing, forums, advice, vegan 101, etc. A great resource, especially for those new to the vegan lifestyle, but also for veterans such as myself.

The Post Punk Kitchen Is the brainchild of Isa Chandra Moskowitz - my hero. I have all of her cookbooks (more on these in the vegan cookbook section) - all splattered, tattered and much loved and used - follow her blog, and kind of want to have her babies. I love her. So yeah. From Chana Masala to Vanilla Bean Cupcakes  - if ever I am without my trusty copy of Vegan With A Vengeance, this is where I go. I just- it's just - just go! <3

The Tofu Guru  - Is a one-girl, online vegan cooking show - very entertaining, especially great for the college student's budget -with some really tasty recipes and easy to follow directions - for example, her Vegan Tamales are absolutely delicious! And especially here, I find her video demonstration of how exactly one is supposed to fold the tamales quite useful.

Emily's Essential Vegan Cookbooks 

A note on cookbooks: Though I have quite a few of them, and love them dearly - I like to use cookbooks like I use blogs  -as jumping off points for culinary adventures. Sometimes I follow a recipe to the letter (especially with baked goods - ask Alton Brown, baking is a science), but most of the time the recipe is simply an outline - I add, remove, substitute and tweak it to make it my own. That being said, cookbooks rule!

Vegan With A Vengeance - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
This is my must have cookbook, and honestly my favorite vegan cook book of all time. My copy is now well worn, dog-eared, and curry splattered. The recipes are delicious, pretty cheap to make, very accessible, and just plain good.

Appetite For Reduction - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Though Vegan With A Vengeance will always be my first love, Appetite For Reduction is quickly gaining ground. I absolutely love it! Isa wrote this one after having written three desert books (all brilliant), and she wanted to just feel a little bit healthier. Lots of soy and gluten-free options. The recipes are fantastic - and I make one to two meals from this during the week. Highlights include: Pot Pie Stew with Sweet Potato Biscuits, Masala Baked Tofu, Black Bean Olive and Zucchini Tacos, Temphe Helper, Edamame Pesto, etc.

Veganomicon - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
The name says it all, doesn't it?

Vegan Brunch - by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Waffles, Scrambles, Scones, Pancakes!

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World
Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar
Vegan Pie In the Sky 

All by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero

These books should come with a warning - especially for those of us who lose our self control where sugary baked goods are concerned. The recipes are delicious and bound to impress even the most skeptical of non-vegans. One of the things I love the most about these books is the fact that they don't require too many crazy ingredients - nearly everything is readily available in any ol' grocery store. I have had to hide these books from my self of late, because I am trying quite hard to break my addictions both to gluten and sugar - however, when I need to impress picky co-workers, or skeptical friends with fantastic deserts - these are the books I grab. Just proceed with caution :) I know that once I start baking, it's not easy to stop. I just can't help it.

Vegan Planet - by Robin Robertson
500 pages of awesome vegan recipes from all over the world ranging from super simple to complex. It contains a lot of my favorite recipes, including one that I make constantly during the fall: Autumn Vegetable Stew - creamy butternut squash, parsnips and sweet potato with nutrient packed collards, and kidney beans - it tastes like fall in your mouth! One of the most comprehensive vegan cookbooks.

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons - by Nava Atlas
I love soup. I love stew. I love this book.

Vegan Holiday Kitchen - by Nava Atlas
What makes this book super awesome is the fact that, unlike others, by "Holiday" it doesn't simply mean Thanksgiving and Christmas - it also includes Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah recipes, and even some great Easter and 4th of July/Summer dishes as well. My family loved the vegan Challah, and the gluten-free Skinny Figgy Bars (this recipe was contributed by Susan Voisin, who also shot the gorgeous photos featured in this book, and is available on her website) and the Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip were huge hits at this years New Years Eve party. A beautiful book in all respects.

The Joy of Vegan Baking - by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau
Scones, cookies, pies, pretzels, "cheesecakes," brittles, cobblers, cupcakes, crepes,and breads. This is another one that I sometimes have to hide along with my copy of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World  :)

How It All Vegan - by Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard
This was actually the first vegan cookbook I ever bought, and like most of the books on this list, most recipes don't require many difficult to find ingredients. Recipes range from classic American dishes to how to make your own nut milks, and offers oodles of  tips and advice on veganism :) I really love this cookbook.

Live Raw - by Mimi Kirk
My first Raw cookbook, and so far I love it! Not only a cookbook, but a lifestyle guide to living Raw (why I started using coconut oil as lotion :P). It makes attempting raw deserts and nut cheeses, or even getting to know your dehydrator a little less daunting.

So there you have it - a few of my favorite vegan blogs and cookbooks - but by no means all of them! So explore! Find cookbooks at your local library (they don't even have to be vegan - sometimes it's more fun to find an old family standard, and try to veganize it yourself!), and get lost in some beautiful blogs :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Overnight Oatmeal, Yet Again

Serves 1 (but double away!)

I don't think I'll ever get tired of overnight oatmeal. It's so nutritious, so filling, and so easy. Plus, it's a great cold breakfast for warm summer mornings. I think I've eaten some variation of this for breakfast every day for the last two months, and I have no intention of stopping! Especially now that I have a ridiculous amount of chia seeds :D

Yep, That's A Mason Jar The Size Of A Chihuahua Full of Chia Seeds (well, almost full).
I wanted to share my current favorite flavor, which is quite similar to my Chocolate Cherry Pudding recipe, but with a few alterations and improvements. For one thing, I've upped the oats to a little over 1/2 cup per serving, and reduced the almond milk by 1/3rd - I think it makes it a taste a lot more pudding-y. I've also added a banana which brings a lot of sweetness, and mixes very nicely with the cherry and chocolate. So here is a slightly altered, but still delicious recipe for Chocolate Cherry Banana Overnight Oats!


  • 1/4 cup frozen unsweetened cherries (or fresh), defrosted in the microwave for 30 seconds, and broken apart with a fork 
  • 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, mashed (optional - prepared with the cherries)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/2 heaping cup regular oats, or gluten-free oats (not instant)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond millk - or non-dairy milk of choice
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 1 heaping TBS cocoa powder
  • 5 drops liquid stevia, or 1/2 TBS maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • 2 TBS roasted, unsalted almonds (or raw almonds, walnuts, etc.)
Banana, Blueberries and Cherries.
All Mashed Up!
Oats Mixed In.
Directions: In a medium sized bowl, defrost the cherries and blueberries (if using frozen) in the microwave for 30 seconds (or just set them out at room temperature for a few hours). Add the banana to the bowl, and mash with a fork or other mashing devise. Add the oats, cocoa powder, salt, and chia seeds - mix together. Stir in the almond milk, stevia, and vanilla extract and until no lumps of cocoa powder remain, and the mixture is starting to thicken..  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Let set for two hours, or overnight.

In the morning, remove the covering, top with roasted almonds, and enjoy!

Right Before It Goes Into The Fridge.

Ready To Devour.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Easy Vegan Pad Thai


Serves 4

I am back! Back from helping to create theatre in the woods (which was amazing - more on that later)! Back from my 3 day road trip from Wisconsin to Texas! And back working as my parent's temporary personal chef, which they are very excited about :p

This is the first meal that I cooked upon my return - Pad Thai - one of my all time favorite dishes. I have very fond college memories of my best friend and I siting on the floor of her apartment, discussing Mormonism, theatrical theory, boys and the ethics of 'Hoarders' whilst eating Pad Thai with extra scoops of chunky peanut butter stirred in. Mmmm..... Good times!

This is a very simple recipe - it's ready and on the table in about 30 minutes. Which is great, and why it has become one of my favorite quick, throw together meals. It's also quite versatile, so feel free to switch up the veggies depending on what you have on hand.

 So- here you go! And please, if you're feeling indulgent, go ahead and add an extra spoonful of peanut butter to your bowl! You won't be sorry :)

1 tsp coconut oil (or olive oil, grape seed oil, etc.)
1 onion, thinly sliced
2 carrots, sliced into thin half moons
1 bell pepper, diced
1 head broccoli, cut into small pieces
(bean sprouts are also great here, I just didn't have any on hand)
1 14oz block firm or extra firm tofu, cut into 1/2" cubes

Sauce Ingredients:
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup wheat-free tamari
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 TBS agave nectar 
juice of 1 lime

6-8 oz Pad Thai rice sticks, or rice noodles (here i used mai-fun rice noodles, because that's what I had in the cupboard) 

2 TBS finely chopped peanuts, for garnish

In a medium sized pot, boil water for the noodles. While the water is coming to a boil, prep your veggies. Over medium-high heat, saute the onion, carrots and pepper in the coconut oil until the onions begin to brown. Add the broccoli, cover, and continue to cook until the broccoli is tender, about 5 minutes more.

While you are waiting for the broccoli to cook, whisk together all of the sauce ingredients, and set aside. When the broccoli is tender, add the tofu, and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the the sauce, stir, cover, and turn the heat to low. Allow to simmer while you prepare the noodles according to the manufacturers directions. When the noodles are cooked, drain them and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Add them to the veggies and tofu, and stir to coat with the sauce.

Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, and serve!

Friday, June 29, 2012

I am back from the Wisconsin Dairy Land, and still recovering from my 3 day road trip home. Prepare to be inundated with all of the blog posts I've been saving up over the last month and a half :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

From Iowa: The Vegan Monkey

gluten-free, date sweetened, Celiac friendly

I made it to Iowa alive! Apart from being run off the highway by an evil school bus, I have completed 2/3ds of my journey unscathed! I'm staying with Andrew here in Iowa until Sunday afternoon, then I'll complete my trip to Spring Green. But that's only a three hour drive, which is a piece of cake. For now, I'm just enjoying getting to spend time with the boy I love.

Oh - and my road trip snacks were very successful! They kept me full, awake, and satisfied - which is quite a feat! I even managed to save a few truffles for Andrew to try - that's true love  :)

So I'm here, in Iowa (the Amana area of Iowa is BEAUTIFUL btw), and Andrew is running props/house managing for On Golden Pond - which I'm seeing tomorrow - and I'm relaxing after 7 hours in the car - a little yoga for my stiff back and a cup of tea for my soul - and thought I'd take a little time while I still have the internets to do a little back blogging, and share a recipe I made the other night along with the Enchilada Casserole: Vegan Chunky Monkey Ice Cream!

Way back when, before I went vegan, I was absolutely in love with Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey Ice Cream. I could down a whole pint in about two seconds. This was also before I had fully grasped the concept of portion control :P However, now using Melissa's wonderful vegan date sweetened coconut milk ice cream base (which I introduced here), I can make my own version anytime I want and not feel an ounce of guilt. Which is kinda awesome.

The three things that make Chunky Monkey, well, Chunky Monkey, are bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips. This ice cream base recipe has become one of my favorites; there are so many flavor combos just waiting to be discovered, and I'm loving this new one. Also, I love how this recipe really isn't bad for you - coconut milk, dates, fruit, nuts, and a little bit of dairy/sugar-free chocolate - in the words of Ina Garten: "how bad can that be?"

The Vegan Monkey

  • 1 cup of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup of water
  • 5 Medjool Dates, pits removed
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (recipe follows)*
To Make the Ice Cream:
Put all ice cream ingredients into a blender. Blend the ingredients until only small flecks of the dates and banana remain. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, following the manufacturers directions.

Mix in the walnuts and chocolate chips when the ice cream is starting to firm up. Serve and enjoy!  

My ice cream tends to be on the soft-servy side - probably because I both like it that way and haven't the patience to wait for it to get super firm before I dive in....

*Chocolate Chips 

(again, courtesy Melissa C.)


  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cacao powder
  • 5 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 5 tablespoons shredded coconut
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp almond flour or cashew butter (optional)
  • 1 tsp agave or maple syrup (I used 6 drops of stevia in mine, however I do like really dark chocolate- if you're not a fan, I'd recommend adding in the extra sweetener).

To Make Chocolate Chips: 
In a small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and coconut oil by hand until well-blended. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Smear a small dab of coconut oil onto some parchment or wax paper, then pour on the chocolate and spread into a thin layer. Refrigerate chocolate until set (very little time). Break into little pieces and add to ice cream, or store in an airtight container in the freezer. 

Melty chocolate on parchment paper.

My almond/coconut flaked chocolate chunks :D

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Road Tripping! 

gluten free, almost sugar free travel friendly snacks :)
Carrot Sticks, Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles, and Almond Saltine Crackers

I am preparing for a journey. Tomorrow I begin my drive up to Wisconsin to work for the amazing American Player's Theatre for the summer. It's quite a drive from Texas, and as I'm driving by myself, I'm breaking the trip up into a few days. I'm also stopping off in Iowa to spend some time with Andrew - my wonderful partner in life/human test subject - whom I miss very much :) Then I get to spend two months making beautiful art with some very lovely people! Good times.

I should also say that my blog posts may be a bit more sporadic for the next 7 weeks, as I will have fairly limited internet, and therfore blogging access. In a way, this is one of the things that I've come to love about summers at APT - no internet, no television - it's a lovely detox from the over-stimulation of modern life. So I'll try my best to keep you updated, especially since one of my housemates for the summer is a very adventurous new vegan (and awesome human being) who's just about as obsessed with food as I am :) We're gonna have fun!

So I thought I'd share my road trip snack selections with you. I don't know about you, but though I always start with the best of intentions - pretzels, trail mix, fruit, pb&j -after about 5 hours in the car, I start craving sugar, salt, and things that are fried - anything to keep me awake. This usually results in bad decisions, and regrets (damn you Oreos!). However, this time I am bound and determined to succeed! I've been feeling so much better, more awake, and lighter since I've started cutting down on gluten (i.e., wheat) and sugar, and I want to keep that going. So I made myself a few of my new favorite snack foods to take with me, and help keep me on track.

The snacks I've chosen are healthy, filling, and satisfy my sweet and salty/crunchy cravings.

First off, I made a batch of chocolate hazelnut truffles. Basically mini Lara Bars (man I love Lara Bars). They're dense, just sweet enough, and pack some protein thanks to the hazelnuts. I used The Wannabe Chef's recipe for raw/vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Cakes, but just used 1 TBS of maple syrup instead of the 1/4 cup called for and added 1 TBS water to help hold them together since I wasn't adding as much sweetener. Then I simply rolled them into balls - and they basically taste like little Nutella nuggets (ah Nutella, I was in love with it during my non-vegan days - since my first Nutella smeared crepe in Paris). I've also made the cakes, and they were both simple and gorgeous, though I wasn't a huge fan of the avocado icing.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles
Then I made a batch of gluten-free crackers, from a recipe that my friend Melissa had introduced me to. It's a super simple recipe with lots of options for playing around with flavors. The recipe comes from a blog called The Comfy Belly, and is not vegan. However, it is very easily veganized by substituting the egg for a flax egg (1 TBS ground flax seeds + 3 TBS water). I also added 1 TBS of chia seeds (I'm a little obsessed with them at the moment, could you tell?), 2 TBS sesame seeds, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 2 TBS nutritional yeast. And the results are a nutty, filling, slightly salty and almost cheese-it tasting cracker. I also used un-bleached almond flour, which I think makes the cracker's more flavorful.

GF Almond Saltines
And I made some carrot sticks too :) I know, I know, they make those handy little bags of baby carrots, but they freak me out. Not sure why, but they do. So I make my own!

'Cause you totally needed to know what my carrot sticks looked like :P

And can I just say that I freaking love these re-usies! No more wasted plastic baggies :)

And it's super cute.
So now I am prepared for my journey! And after I cook dinner tonight, I'll also have some leftover chickpea patties for lunch on the road. Tomorrow morning, all I'll need to do is grab a bit of iced coffee! And maybe an apple or two :)

Enchilada Casserole!



I love casseroles. There, I said it. It's probably the little old lady in me. Anyway, this is a dish I came up with a few weeks ago - I wrote down a few of the basic ingredients I'd used, but that's about it - sloppy recipe creation, I know :P  So I decided to make it again - properly documented this time. Corn tortilla's layered with enchilada sauce, quinoa-broccoli-pinto bean filling, vegan queso, etc. I think it turned out rather well, and mom and dad agreed (though my dad is not a vegan, he does eat most of the vegan dishes I prepare - and I take it as a good measure for how these recipes might go over with other carnivores).

It's not too spicy - because I just don't handle spicy terribly well, - anything over mild tends to elicit lots of "oh my god, oh my god, my taste buds are dying" antics- but you can kick the heat up a bit by using spicy salsa in the queso, or a spicy enchilada sauce, or by throwing a diced jalapeno in with the veggies! For example, my fiance/man-friend/life partner - let's just call him Andrew - LOVES the spicy! He'd put sriracha and red pepper flakes on everything if I let him :P So when I made these the first time - I made two batches - one with the jalapenos and a few dashes of hot sauce, and the other mild as can be. So may you're mouth blissfully burn if you so choose :)

This dish also uses one of my favorite recipe's for vegan cheese sauce, which I first discovered on (which I've just tried to link to, but my computer seems to believe it's an "attack page" at the moment, so I'll link that a bit later....) - a great resource for vegan recipe sharing! Anyway, this recipe is Dragonfly's Bulk Un-cheese Mix, and I always keep a batch on hand in the fridge, and it comes in handy for a last minute supper of mac and trees :) My version of this mix differs slightly from Dragonfly's, in that I do not add corn starch to my mixture - I honestly don't think it's necessary - the cashew mixture thickens up quite nicely without it.

Also, though I've been meaning to try my hand at homemade enchilada sauce, last night that simply wasn't going to happen. Too hungry. So I used a store bought version. I found this nifty little pouch of enchilada sauce the last time I was at the store - Frontera's Red Chile Enchilada Sauce with Roasted Tomato and Garlic - and was delighted when I looked at the ingredient list to find that there were no strange chemicals, or unpronounceable additives. It's fairly low in sodium, contains no high fructose corn syrup or gluten - and while it does contain sugar, it's listed pretty far down on the ingredient list which is usually a good sign. I also confirmed with the company, that it is vegan friendly. However, buyer beware - apparently Frontera's Enchilada sauce that comes in a jar is not vegan/vegetarian friendly. So look for the pouch. Or make your own! I intend to make my own next time, so that I can hopefully eliminate the sugar all together.

My nifty supermarket find

Enchilada Casserole 

1 cup/pouch enchilada sauce, mild
9-10 small corn tortillas (I used Food For Life's sprouted corn tortillas)

1tsp grapeseed, olive, or coconut oil
1 head broccoli, finely chopped, about 2 1/2 cups
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBS cumin powder
½ TBS chili powder
½ tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
black pepper to taste
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1 lime
2 cups cooked quinoa

1/2 cup cashew cheese mix (recipe follows)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup mild salsa/picante sauce

1 lime cut into wedges to garnish

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a medium sized sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add the broccoli and garlic, and continue to cook about 10 minutes more, until the broccoli is very tender, and the onions are lightly browned.  Add the remaining ingredients, plus the quinoa and 1/2 of cashew queso sauce, and mix to incorporate. Set aside. 


Yeah.... I forgot to add the pinto beans to mine.... oops!

Make the queso sauce: in a small sauce pan, whisk together the cashew cheese mix and water over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble - about 2 minutes. When it's as thick as you'd like, remove from the heat and add the salsa. Whisk together, then set aside.

Cashew cheese sauce before I poured in the salsa

In a 9x11 casserole dish, spread about 1/3 cup of your enchilada sauce to coat the bottom. Use 3 tortillas to cover the bottom of the pan – I like to cut each tortilla into 4 triangles, then play a bit of tortilla Tetris in the pan. Spread on 1/2 of  your quinoa veggie mix. Top with tortilla’s, and another 1/3 cup of the enchilada sauce. Spread on the rest of your quinoa veggie mix, cover with another 3 tortillas, and end with the last of your enchilada sauce. Top everything off with the rest of your cashew queso, cover with tin foil, and place in the oven for 30 minutes, until the queso is bubbly. I like to remove the tin foil for the last 5 minutes of cooking, so that it can brown a bit on top. Serve with lime wedges.

Tortilla Tetris!
Second layer of tortilla's topped with enchilada sauce
I like how the enchilada sauce and the queso swirled together :)

Cashew Cheese Mix

(Original Recipe by Dragonfly)
I usually make about 4 cups of this at a time, but I've scaled it back here. This makes about 1 cup of dry cheese mix.
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 TBS onion powder
1/2 TBS garlic powder
1 tsp seasoning salt

In a food processor or blender, pulse all ingredients until finely ground. Store in an airtight container, and place in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. 

Dry cashew cheese mix

To make cheese sauce, add 1 part cashew cheese mix and 1 part water in a small saucepan, and whisk together over medium heat, until thick and bubbly. Pour over pasta, veggies, etc. Or mix with salsa, and enjoy with some baked tortilla chips :)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Obsession Continues: Chocolate Cherry Pudding Overnight Oats with Roasted Almonds

  gluten-free, stevia sweetened

 So last night before I fell into bed (after a long day of searching for a car - let us not speak of it - an hour of sweaty power yoga and cleaning), I mixed up a few ingredients in a bowl, placed said bowl into the fridge, skyped my intended (who's currently working in Iowa), and passed out.

And what did I find in the fridge this morning? A big bowl of what tasted like chocolate pudding :)

I used OhSheGlows' recipe for Chocolate Cake Batter Overnight Oats as inspiration for my Chocolate Cherry Pudding Overnight Oats with Roasted Almonds - long enough title? I loved them, mom loved them - and the great thing about them is that they keep you full for so long! I'm usually scrounging around for a snack by 10am, but these kept me full till lunch, thanks to the chia seeds and the nuts.

Chocolate Cherry Pudding Overnight Oats with Roasted Almonds
Serves 2-3

  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened cherries (or fresh, chopped), defrosted and broken apart with a fork
  • 3/4 cup regular oats, or gluten-free oats (not instant)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk - or non-dairy milk of choice - coconut milk would probably be good!
  • 2 TBS chia seeds
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 6 drops liquid stevia, or 1TBS maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 TBS roasted, unsalted almonds (or raw almonds, walnuts, etc.)
Directions: In a medium sized bowl, defrost the cherries in the microwave for 1 minute (or just set them out at room temperature for a few hours). Mash with a fork. Add the oats, cocoa powder, salt, and chia seeds - mix together. Whisk in the almond milk and stevia, until no lumps of cocoa powder remain, and the mixture is starting to thicken (due to the chia seeds, this should happen fairly quickly).  Cover the bowl and place in the fridge. Let set for two hours, or overnight.

In the morning, remove the covering, give them a stir - you can add more sweetener if you like - and top with roasted almonds. Savor, as you revel in the feeling of eating pudding for breakfast :)

I like a lotta nuts